Libertatem Magazine

Karnataka High Court Ordered To Make Changes in the Municipal Election’s Notification Dated 16.03.2021

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On 1 April 2021, a writ petition came for admission in the High Court of Karnataka under Article 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India seeking to quash the notification issued by the State of Karnataka on 16.03.2021. After observing the arguments of both sides, Justice R. Devdas disposed of the writ petition by giving the opinion that the impugned notification should be changed to bring in accordance with the State Government’s guidelines. 

Facts of the Case

The petitioners of the writ petition are the residents of Vijaypura Town, DevanahalliTaluk. They claimed to be aggrieved by the reservations and rotations made by the respondent (State Government). The petitioners had previously approached the court in 2018 when a notification for the reservation for the election to the post of Councillors. However, it was disposed of in 2019. Hence, when a similar incident happened, the petitioners filed the writ petition under Article 226.

Arguments by the Parties

The learned counsel of the petitioners submitted that the court has noticed that there was repetition in providing reservation for certain wards in the previous writ petition of 2018 which quashed the notification dated 30.07.2018. The senior learned counsel pointed out that in the recent notification of March 2021, there has been repetition in the sense that while on the previous occasion reservation were provided to Woman under various category and although the earlier category has been changed, yet the reservation is provided for Woman under a different category. It was argued that this is in contravention to clause 10 of the guidelines issued by the state government in 2013. 

On the other hand, the learned counsel of the respondents, Sri K N Phanindhra, initially argued that the Karnataka High Court should not pass orders after the calendar of events is announced even if the petitioners succeed in pointing out some irregularities. To support his argument, the learned counsel took reliance on the leading case of N.P.Ponnuswami vs. Returning Officer, Nammakkal (AIR 1952 SC 64). Further, the Additional Government advocate extended the argument by pointing out the rules of the Karnataka Municipal (Election & Councillors) Rules, 1997. 

Court’s Observation and Judgment

The Karnataka High Court observed that on the face of it, the notification of 21.03.2021 doesn’t mark the commencement of the event of the calendar. The court opined that the impugned notification should be changed to bring in accordance with the State Government’s guidelines. The court directed the respondents to consider the grievances of the petitioners. It was further added that the changes should be made and failing to do so should be informed via a notification on or before 06.04.2021. 

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