Writ Petition No. 12419/2017 (LB-ELE). Case: B.N. Srinivas Vs State of Karnataka and Ors.. Karnataka High Court

Case Number:Writ Petition No. 12419/2017 (LB-ELE)
Party Name:B.N. Srinivas Vs State of Karnataka and Ors.
Counsel:For Appellant: V. Lakshminarayana, Senior Counsel for Nagaraj N. Naidu, Advocate and For Respondents: V. Sreenidhi, AGA
Judges:R.S. Chauhan, J.
Issue:Constitution of India - Articles 226, 243ZG, 329, 329(b); Representation of the People Act, 1951 - Sections 100, 105, 170, 80
Judgement Date:March 23, 2017
Court:Karnataka High Court
 
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Order:

R.S. Chauhan, J.

  1. The petitioner, Mr. B.N. Srinivas, has challenged the legality of the Notification, dated 13.03.2017, issued by the respondent No. 1, State of Karnataka, represented by its Secretary, Urban Development Department, and the Election Notice dated 15.03.2017, issued by the respondent No. 3, Assistant Commissioner, Chikkaballapura. The petitioner has also prayed that a direction should be issued to the respondents to first issue a fresh provisional notification, and only after hearing the public at large, to issue a final notification for reserving the post of President and Vice-President for a particular reserved category.

  2. The case revolves around the election of President and Vice-President of Town Municipal Council, Bagepalli. The election to the said post has a rather checkered history, which is as under:-

    "After having won the election on 11.03.2013 from Ward No. 19, the petitioner is a Councilor of the said TMC. In order to hold election to the post of President and Vice-President, the State Government had issued a Notification on 24.04.2016. According to the said Notification, while the post of President was reserved for General Category, the post of Vice-President was reserved for the category of BCB-Woman (henceforth to be referred to as " BCB (W)"). However, the said Notification was challenged by one Smt. V. Vanaja before this Court by filing W.P. No. 41101/2016.

    During the pendency of the said writ petition, a fresh Notification was issued on 04.03.2016, whereby the post of President was declared to be for the category of General Woman ("GMW", for short). Since the present petitioner, before this Court, was aggrieved by the change of category for the post of President from 'General' to 'General Woman', he filed a writ petition, namely W.P. No. 47135/2016 before this Court.

    Meanwhile, the petition filed by Smt. V. Vanaja, was decided by a learned Single Judge of this Court by order dated 29.08.2016. The learned Single Judge had quashed the Notification dated 24.02.2016, qua, Bagepalli, and had directed the respondents to reserve the seat of President, or Vice-President in favour of Scheduled Caste Woman ("SCW", for short), and to re-issue the Notification.

    Since the said direction was given by the learned Single Judge, on 15.09.2016 the present petitioner withdrew his writ petition, challenging the Notification dated 04.03.2016. Since the present petitioner, Mr. B.N. Srinivas, was a respondent in the case filed by Smt. Vanaja, he filed a Writ Appeal, namely W.A. No. 3699/2016 against the order dated 29.08.2016."

  3. During the pendency of writ appeal, and in consonance with the directions issued by the learned Single Judge, on 27.10.2016, the State Government issued a fresh Notification, qua, Bagepalli Town Municipal Council. According to the said Notification, while the post of President continued to be kept for GMW, the post of Vice-President was now reserved for the category of Scheduled Caste Woman ('SCW, for short).

  4. By judgment dated 13.01.2017, the learned Division Bench allowed the writ appeal filed by the present petitioner, and held that the direction issued by the learned Single Judge for reserving the seat of President and Vice-President in favour of the SCW candidate could not have been issued. It further directed the concerned authority "to take a decision in the matter and to issue a Notification in accordance with law".

  5. Since the petitioner was also aggrieved by the new Notification dated 27.10.2016, which was issued during the pendency of the writ appeal, he challenged the same by filing a writ petition, namely W.P. No. 56091/2016. The said writ petition was listed before this Court on 13.02.2017. By order dated 13.02.2017, this Court directed the respondents to carry out the directions issued by the learned Division Bench, namely "to issue a fresh Notification in accordance with law". Consequently, the respondents have issued a Notification dated 13.03.2017, whereby the post of President is still kept for the category of GMW, but the post of Vice-President has now been reserved for Backward Classes-'A' ("BCA", for short). Hence, the present petition filed by the petitioner challenging the Notification dated 13.03.2017.

  6. Mr. Sreenidhi, the learned AGA, has raised a preliminary objection with regard to the maintainability of the writ petition. According to him, since the Notification, has been issued on 13.03.2017, and the Calendar of Events on 15.03.2017, respectively, the election process has commenced. Therefore, the writ petition challenging the holding of election is not maintainable. The only remedy which is available to the petitioner is to file an Election Petition challenging the outcome of the Election. Most importantly, according to the learned counsel, the election is scheduled to take place on 24.03.2017. Therefore, according to the learned counsel, the present writ petition has been filed only with a view to retard, interrupt, obstruct, and delay the process of election proceedings. According to him, Article 243ZG of the Constitution of India, debars the calling into question the election to any Municipality except by an election petition presented to such Authority, and in such a manner as is provided under the law made by the Legislature of the State. Furthermore, Sections 21 to 26 of the Karnataka Municipalities Act ('the Act', for short) deal with filing of the election petition, relief that may be claimed by the petitioner, grounds for declaring elections to be void, procedure to be followed by the Election Tribunal, and decision of the Election Tribunal. Thus, in light of the bar contained in Article 243ZG of the...

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