HC puts a rider on any further govt. decision on creation of boards and corporations

As the State government failed to submit statement of objections for the past two months despite grant of sufficient time, the High Court of Karnataka on Monday said that any further decision after setting up of boards and corporations would be subject to court’s final orders to be passed on the petitions pending adjudication.

A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum, passed the interim order as the Advocate-General sought more time to file objections to the three separate PIL petitions challenging constitution of boards and corporations based on castes.

The interim order would apply to the steps taken with regard to Karnataka Maratha Development Corporation; Karnataka Arya Vysya Community Development Corporation; Karnataka Vishwakarma Communities Development Corporation; Karnataka Christian Development Board; Karnataka Brahmin Development Corporation; and Karnataka Kadugolla Development Authority.

The Bench was hearing separate PIL petitions filed by S. Basavaraj, a city-based advocate and the Karnataka State Backward Castes’ Federation questioning the legality of setting up boards and corporations in the name of castes and religion.

The court in December 2020 had passed interim direction in case of Karnataka Veerashaiva-Lingayat Development Corporation, stating that further steps would be subject to its final order a petition which specifically challenges creation of this corporation.

Earlier, senior counsel Ravivarma Kumar, appearing for the federation contended that these boards and corporations were set up solely for “vote bank” purpose keeping in mind the byelections to be held to the Assembly constituencies in north Karnataka region where certain communities form a major section of the electorate.

However, Advocate-General Prabhuling K. Navadgi said that the government could not answer the allegation that these boards and corporation were created keeping the byelections in mind but could only deny the allegation. The A-G also pointed out that though many corporations were set up earlier, the petitioners, who did not raise objections then, had sought to challenge them when recently two corporations were created for the benefit of two communities.

The Bench adjourned further hearing till March second week as Mr. Navadgi sought two weeks to file statement of objections.

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