Wednesday, October 28, 2009

HC rebukes BBMP's flawed ward reservation norms

HC rebukes BBMP's flawed ward reservation norms

Srikanth Hunasavadi. Bangalore



The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday rebuked the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for making improper guidelines in fixing the reservation for the 198 wards.
"What kind of guidelines are these? They do not fulfill legal and constitutional requirements. If the BBMP cannot fix the reservation norms properly, the court will prepare the rotation and reservation chart," Justice HN Nagamohan Das strongly observed.
The court has directed the BBMP to file an affidavit on Wednesday in this regard, with details about the list of wards, percentage of SC/ST population and also the percentage of SC/ST women population.
Hearing the petitions filed by Ramakrishna Pai, K Devan and others, the court observed, "The division bench had set a deadline, but the process to conduct the BBMP polls has not commenced as yet."
Former mayor PR Ramesh has also filed an interlocutory application alleging that the government is purposefully delaying the elections.
The petitioner's counsel, Jayakumar S Patil, submitted that neither the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (KMC) Act, nor the Constitution permits the concept of importing of assembly constituencies. He submitted that the ward division is an artificial division of castes and communities, where only a handful of constituencies will benefit from the guidelines.
Patil added, "The guidelines stated that the reservation for SC/STs will be decided after taking into account the population in the 23 assembly constituencies that come under BBMP, with the wards having the highest SC/ST population reserved for SC/ST candidates."
However, under Article 243 (T) and Section 7 of the KMC Act, the BBMP area population should have been the basis for determining the reservation. "Also, BBMP has not considered the 1995 and 2001 reservations. All these mistakes seem to have been committed intentionally," Patil submitted.
The government guidelines issued on July 21 state that 91 wards are reserved for SC/ST and backward classes, with one-third representation for women. The remaining 107 wards are for general and women candidates. These reservations were made on the basis of the 2001 census figures that peg Bangalore's population at 65 lakh.

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