Why no civic polls in TN yet, SC asks SEC

Chennai: The Supreme Court today pulled up the State Election Commission for not conducting local body elections in Tamilnadu.

It questioned why the civic polls were not held so far and has asked the polling body to reply within four weeks.

The top court issued the orders after hearing a PIL seeking the civic polls to be conducted in the State as early as possible.

The local body elections that were supposed to be held in October 2016 had been stalled by the Madras High Court after the main opposition DMK questioned the way the poll process was carried out.

DMK challenged the polls citing law and order problems, irregularities, inadequate ST reservation, and a hurried announcement.

The High Court dismissed their argument that reservation should be done based on Census 2011 but by then the State government had begun a delimitation process based on that census. For the last two years, the State has been functioning without local body leaders.

It may be noted that in July, the Madras High Court also slammed State Election Commission for not implementing its order on holding local body elections and directed it to submit the poll schedule.

The first bench of the High Court comprising the then Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar gave the direction on a contempt petition filed by the DMK which sought to punish the SEC for not implementing the court’s 4 September 2017 order.

Observing that the SEC should be declared guilty of contempt, Indira Banerjee asked the counsel for the commission ‘Do you think that it is up to you to decide to what extent court orders can be implemented?’

The SEC then submitted that it was conducting delimitation process as per 2011 census.

NT Bureau