Kar HC | Municipal elections: Repetition of reservation in any ward for any category – anti-thesis of rotation principle envisaged under Article 243-T of Constitution  

Karnataka High Court: The Bench of S. Sunil Dutt Yadav, J. allowed a civil writ petition challenging State’s notification dated 10-08-2018 which stipulated reservation for various wards of Mangaluru City Corporation in the upcoming elections.

Petitioners, being aspirant candidates who intended to contest elections in various wards, contended that the impugned notification failed to adhere to guidelines mentioned in the Government Order dated 02-02-2015 specifying reservation policy and matrix; and principle of rotation envisaged under Article 243-T of the Constitution of India; and also the legislative mandate under Section 7(4) of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976. It was pointed out that there had been no change in the constitution of wards and there was a clear repetition in reservation for the same categories.

Respondent challenged maintainability of the petition contending that jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution could not be exercised as the only remedy available to the petitioner was to approach before the Election Commission. However, the same was dismissed holding that there was no legislation providing for reservation and rotation and in absence of the same Court was competent to exercise jurisdiction.

The Court opined that Article 243T of Constitution provides for allotment of reserved seats by rotation to different constituencies. The Legislature had incorporated this constitutional mandate in the State Municipal Corporations Act. Modalities of the process of rotation had been detailed in the G.O. dated 02-02-2015. However, it was noted that there were irregularities in adherence to the said provisions. Thus, the impugned notification was quashed holding that there cannot be a repetition of reservation for any ward in any category as it would be the anti-thesis of rotation. [Ravindra Nayak v. Karnataka State Election Commission, 2019 SCC OnLine All 77, Order dated 14-01-2019]

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