The high court circuit bench on Tuesday set aside the state government’s order superseding the Belgaum City Corporation. The single judge bench comprising Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar passing the order on the writ petition filed by corporator Lateefkhan Pathan and 20 others decreed that the state government’s decision to supersede the elected body of Belgaum City Corporation was in violation of provisions of Article 243 (U) of Constitution of India.
Justice Shantanagoudar termed the government’s decision as sheer abuse of democratic norms. Article 243(U) provides that the corporators of the urban local body are elected by the people for a term of five years and the government cannot seize their powers before completion of their term. The judge also observed that the corporators had not been given an opportunity to give their explanation to the government.
The state had superseded the Belgaum City Corporation (BCC) on December 15, 2011 on the ground that it had acted in manner detrimental to the interest of Karnataka and Kannada. The BCC general body had opposed felicitation of writer Chandrashehar Kambar who was selected for the prestigious Jnanpith award. The government had also taken note of Mayor Manda Balekundri participating in the black day observation called by Maharastra Ekikarana Samiti on Karnataka Rajyotsava Day.
Another reason for the government to supersede was that the BCC did not hold general body meetings regularly as per the stipulated norms. Corporator Lateefkhan and others had challenged the government’s decision saying the corporators had not been given an opportunity to put forth their stand. Justice Shantanagoudar in his order said all the 23 corporators who have been served show cause notice by the government should personally appear before the under secretary, Municipal Administration, on June 25.
At the Zilla Panchayat meeting hall in Belgaum and give their explanation to the notice. Sangram Kulkarni argued on behalf of the petitioners.
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Former chief minister Jagadish Shettar, MP Prahlad Joshi and Hubli-Dharwad West MLA Arvind Bellad had also sought an inquiry