A single-judge Bench of the High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday said there are strong hints of private interests in a bunch of public interest litigations (PILs) that came up for hearing regarding the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) elections.
The court said it cannot stop the process of elections to the BBMP, and if there were any problems in the wards delimitation, they could be rectified by the time of the next elections.
The petitioners sought an interim order that the High Court rejected. The number of wards in the civic body has been increased from the existing 198 to 243. The government has also issued the ward reservation list on August 4.
The petitions filed by several former BBMP corporators and others came up for hearing before Justice Hemant Chandangoudar. The judge quipped that there are hints of private interests rather than public interest in the PILs. The petitions sought for redoing the delimitation of certain wards. The PILs had challenged the delimitation, claiming they were done unscientifically and without regard for proper boundaries.
The Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday filed objections to more than half a dozen PILs filed on the issue. The petitions were previously heard on August 10. The EC, in its statement of objections, called for the petitions to be dismissed as they were a blatantly illegal and untenable attempt to delay the elections to the BBMP though the term of the elected councilors expired on September 10, 2020. Any direction to re-do the delimitation exercise would be against the Supreme Court directives, it has said.
The Supreme Court had directed the EC to conduct the elections through its orders in May and July of this year in a special leave petition (SLP) filed by the State government. The exercise of the preparation of the electoral roll for all the 243 wards of BBMP has already commenced and is continuing on a warfooting due to the tight time schedule fixed by the SEC and because of the urgency with which the elections to the BBMP has to be conducted in view of the observations made by the Supreme Court, the objections state.
The State Election Commission (SEC) has also specifically objected to any interim order on the PILs. The Supreme Court has laid down the law that if elections are imminent, though the Courts can entertain writ petitions challenging notifications, no interim order of stay ought to be given which has the effect of indefinite postponement of the elections and all controversial matters and all disputes should be postponed till after the elections are over. The High Court adjourned the hearing of the matter to Wednesday.