Tuesday, March 02, 2010

HC raps govt for excuses

HC raps govt for excuses
Bangalore, Mar 1, DHNS:

Putting an end to the State Government’s tactics to indefinitely put away elections to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the Karnataka High Court on Monday ruled that the civic polls must be held no later than March 30.

Taking apart the government for trying to do all it could to delay the polls, the high court said it stood by its earlier order that the elections be held on or before the end of this month.

After hearing the government’s interlocutory application (IA) seeking time, and the IA filed by the State Election Commission (SEC) seeking directions to the State to issue final notification of reservation of all the 198 wards, a division bench comprising Justices V Gopalagowda and B S Patil rejected the State’s application praying for extension of time.
During the three-hour-long hearing, the court also directed the State to issue final notification for reservation of all the wards within two days. The SEC was told that it must announce the date of the polls within two days of receiving the list.

The court’s directives has put an end to the issue of the elusive BBMP polls which have not been held since 2006. But the division bench said that no exemplary cost was being imposed on the state government.

Lashing out at the State Government for filing an application seeking extension of time and for non-implementation of its order to announce the list before conducting the polls, the court said it was “not impressed by the reasons the State Government cited. They are flimsy, frivolous and lame excuses. They have not complied with the order issued in July2, 2008. There is already a delay of one year seven months.”

Rejecting the appeal seeking extension of time, the Court said the State Government had blatantly violated Article 242 of the Constitution. “We hope good things go into the minds of the State and they will implement our orders,” the bench observed.

On the State Government’s submission, the court said: “The State’s submission that school buildings would not be available for the polls is a strange thing and is contrary. There is no requisition for college building. PU exams in March will not be affected.”
Pointing out that the State has repeated the reasons cited earlier to seek extension, the Court said it extended the time earlier so that the authorities could co-operate to implement the orders to conduct polls.

Taking exception to the absence of Urban Development Department principal secretary Subhir Hari Singh, the Court said that the officer never appeared before the Bench although he was required to file petitions and swear on affidavits. Justices Gopalagowda and Patil said the officer did not comply with the orders once the State Government’s special leave petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court.

“Not complying with the orders should be taken a serious note of by the State,” the Court observed.

Earlier during the hearing, when the Additional Advocate General K M Natraj sought for extension of time, the bench wanted to know under what legal provision is it possible.
Counsel for SEC, K M Phanindra objected to the State’s plea that the SEC is unable to conduct polls before May and sought directions to issue notification.

Counsels for petitioners Dr Ravi Varma Kumar and Lakshminarayana submitted that the State’s request for extension of time should not be considered.

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