A minister in the BJP government in Karnataka, who was provided a ‘zero traffic’ environment on a 37-km stretch between Bengaluru airport and the Raj Bhavan on August 4, was issued a notice by the Karnataka High Court. The court also issued a similar notice to the state police over the clearance provided to the MLA before she could even become a minister.
The ‘zero traffic’ clearance was granted after she arrived late from New Delhi for her swearing-in ceremony.
The minister for the muzrai department and the former women and child development minister Shashikala Jolle was provided a ‘zero traffic’ environment at 2:15pm, when the swearing-in of the new cabinet of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had already begun at the Raj Bhavan.
The BJP leader managed to reach Raj Bhavan in 30 minutes to take her oath towards the end of the ceremony.
A resident of Bengaluru, G Balaji Naidu, later filed a petition in the High Court against the ‘zero traffic’ clearance in alleged violation of rules and protocols.
A division bench Wednesday issued notices to Jolle, the state government and police over the clearance. The court also asked the state government to treat the petition filed by Naidu “as a representation and pass an appropriate order thereon within a period of one month”.
The court orally observed ‘zero traffic’ clearances can be provided for medical emergencies such as heart transplants and that a case like Jolle’s violated the rights of people to move around freely in the country.
Jolle Thursday said that she was not aware that ‘zero traffic’ clearance was given to her on August 4 but came to know about it through the media only after the swearing-in ceremony. She added she had not asked for zero traffic clearance to reach the Raj Bhavan.
Jolle, who was the minister for women and child development in the BJP government led by B S Yediyurappa, had fell out with Yediyurappa and was expected to be left out of the cabinet, especially after allegations of an attempt to seek bribes to clear a contract to supply eggs to school children surfaced in the days ahead of the naming of the new Bommai cabinet.
According to government officials Jolle’s name was added to the list of candidates to be sworn-in as a minister only in the final stages after the MLA used her connections in the central BJP.
Jolle, the lone woman minister in the state cabinet, was in Delhi on August 4 to meet party leaders to push her case when she was finally chosen to be in the Karnataka cabinet and had to rush to Bengaluru to ensure she was sworn-in with the other ministers.