The Supreme Court had recently told the Madhya Pradesh government to urgently hold polls for local bodies, and said that the order applies to all states in India.

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai
news Governance Friday, May 13, 2022 - 10:47

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Thursday, May 12, said all legal efforts are on to provide political reservation for those from Other Backward Classes (OBC) in local bodies, ahead of polls. The Chief Minister held a meeting with Law Minister JC Madhuswamy, Advocate General and the senior officials to discuss the Supreme Court order on holding elections for local bodies.

"The two orders of the Supreme Court on the issue are being studied. Also a Commission has been constituted to give political representation for the Backward Classes. The Leader of the Opposition has written a letter in this connection. All these aspects will be discussed with legal experts while taking the decision," CM Bommai said. He said his government and all the political parties intend to hold the elections only after giving political representation for the Backward Classes.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, May 10, had directed the Madhya Pradesh State Election Commission (SEC) to issue a poll programme for local bodies within two weeks. The apex court said the ongoing activity of delimitation or formation of the ward cannot be a legitimate ground to be set forth by any authority to not discharge its Constitutional obligation in notifying the election programme at the opportune time and to ensure that the elected body is installed before the expiry of five-year term of the outgoing body.

The bench has said its order and directions are not limited to Madhya Pradesh but to all the states/Union Territories and the respective election commission to abide by the same without fail, to uphold the constitutional mandate. Faced with the possibility of local body polls that were due being announced after this Supreme Court order, CM Bommai had earlier instructed the Law Department and the Advocate General to study the full text of the order, as it would be applicable to Karnataka too.

Read: SC verdict may force Karnataka to finally hold the much-delayed BBMP polls

Replying to a question as to whether the process would take a long time, the Chief Minister said, "The Madhya Pradesh government has filed a review petition. There are reports submitted by many committees in Karnataka too on political reservation. We are mulling using them as well to present our stand."

He noted that a Commission has been constituted to collect accurate data on Backward Classes in the state and a report which details the status of political representation of specific communities among the Backward Classes would be submitted to the Supreme Court. "The earlier order of the Supreme Court is already being followed. Recently another order has come. Its implications would be discussed with legal experts," he added.

Meanwhile, Minister Madhuswamy said the government is considering filing an appeal, seeking three months time so that OBC category can be fixed along with delimitation, before holding polls to local bodies.

The zilla and taluk panchayats elections that were due in May-June 2021 were not held, as the state government constituted a delimitation commission to redraw panchayat boundaries, subsequently the Supreme Court said OBC reservation in local bodies should be provided after passing a three-pronged test criteria.

Read TNM’s three-part series on how Bengaluru's fragile infrastructure is crumbling in the absence of elected corporators: 

Bengaluru has not had elected corporators for 20 months: Why you should care

Real reason BBMP polls are delayed: Bengaluru MLAs are lobbying against it

In the absence of corporators, Bengaluru MLAs muscle their way into ward committee meets

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