Bengaluru: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Karnataka government to conduct elections to the Bengaluru civic body within three months.
Setting aside the Karnataka High Court’s April 24 ruling, which ordered that the civic polls be held in six months (by October), the apex court told the state election commission to conduct elections in 198 civic wards across the city by July 18, as the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) was superseded on April 18, four days before its five-year term was to lapse.
The top court’s ruling came on a bunch of petitions filed by the state election commission, NGO Namma Bengaluru Foundation, two former BJP corporators C.K. Ramamurthy and B. Somashekar and Rajya Sabha independent member Rajeev Chandrasekhar.
“The state government was using both its trifurcation proposal and dissolution of the civic body as a brazen excuse to delay the elections by six months,” Chandrasekhar said in a statement in Bengaluru.
The legislative assembly on April 20 passed by voice vote a bill to amend the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 2015 to bifurcate or trifurcate the BBMP.
Terming the apex court order a victory for democracy and the nine million denizens of Bengaluru, Chandrasekhar said the state government’s attempt to split the BBMP and delay its polls was against the constitutional provision of Article 243-U that mandates urban local bodies to conduct elections every five years.
The state government also assured the apex court of not splitting the BBMP till elections were held in the next three months.
The amended bill was, however, referred to a select committee of the state legislative council (upper house) by its chairman D.H. Shankaramurthy on April 27 as demanded by the opposition BJP and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) members.
The BBMP was expanded in 2007 by including seven city municipal councils and one town municipal council and 111 surrounding villages to increase civic wards to 198 from 100 earlier.
(With inputs from IANS)