TN civic polls: HC sets 6 Aug as deadline for SEC schedule

By NT Bureau Published on Jul 31, 2018 01:46 PM IST

Chennai: After a heated argument at the Madras High Court today regarding the conduct of local body elections in Tamilnadu, the judges have set Monday (6 August) as the deadline for the State Election Commission (SEC) to submit the schedule and time-frame within which the civic polls will be held in the State.

The bench, which heard the case, warned that contempt of court proceedings will be initiated against the officials if the deadline was missed.

High Court Chief Justice Indira Banerjee raised several questions to the SEC's counsel Nedunchezhiyan.

“Has the Supreme Court given stay order preventing the election from being held? If so, where is the copy of the verdict? What is the current status of the case that is happening in the apex court?” she asked.

Replying to this, Nedunchezhiyan said the delimitation work was going on.

DMK counsel P Wilson said since the local body election has not been conducted, Rs 4,000 crore funds have not been received by the State government from the Centre.

Indira Banerjee further questioned about the steps taken by the SEC to conduct the local body election.

“Why was no action taken even after filing the contempt of court plea?” she asked.

She adjourned the hearing for some time today and asked the SEC to say when it was planning to conduct the elections.

When the case was taken up for hearing again, Nedunchezhiyan said the election schedule will be announced after the delimitation work was completed.

In response to this, the Chief Justice said the hearing will be postponed to Monday. “If the schedule is not announced on that day, then contempt of court proceedings will be initiated against the State Election Commissioner and secretary,” she cautioned.

During the previous hearing, Wilson had asked the court to take up contempt proceedings against the authorities for not conducting the election.

He also pointed out that the Supreme Court has not issued any stay order to conduct of elections on the delimitation issue.

FROM 2016 TO NOW

* Councillors term ended 24 October 2016.

* Election was supposed to be held on 17 and 19 October 2016.

* It was postponed after DMK filed a case stating that proper reservation was not given for tribal people.

* Madras High Court ordered the election to be held by 17 November 2017 and special officers were appointed till then.

* But elections were not held, following which DMK filed a contempt of court plea in the High Court.

* The case came up for hearing today.