August 13, 2019 - 11:18am
Yesterday was a great day at the Karnataka High Court for all those hankering for greater citizen participation at the local level. In a PIL filed by the Mangaluru CC Civic Group, along with CIVIC and Nagarika Shakti, (WP 53244/2018), Chief Justice Oka gave a very clear ruling that as soon as the municipal council is elected and constituted, Area Sabhas and Ward Committees should be formed immediately. He was not willing to give a specific time-frame for their formation, either. He stressed the word 'immediately'! The Commissioner of Mangaluru Mahanagara Palike, who had been issued a notice to respond to the PIL, was lucky that no Council existed currently in Mangaluru as its term had ended in March 2019. But no election had been held for a fresh council and hence an administrator had been appointed. Elections are proposed only after the monsoons. The above judgement can be used to ask for area sabhas and ward committees in all municipal corporations of Karnataka.
Notices have been issued to all eleven municipal corporation commissioners of Karnataka and to the State government in another State-wide petition on the same issue, filed by CIVIC, Nagarika Shakti and several other CSOs across the State. This too will be coming up for hearing soon.
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