After SC order, SEC says TN civic polls will be held as planned

After the Supreme Court directed the Tamil Nadu government and the state poll panel to conduct upcoming local bodies’ election by relying on 2011 census instead of the 1991 census as alleged by opposition party Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the State Election Commission has said the civic polls will be held as scheduled.

A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde mentioned in its order: “After hearing the arguments, we feel that the interest of justice is subserved by issuing a direction to the respondents (state government and poll panel) to apply 2011 census to all impending elections irrespective of the number of seats determined by the delimitation commission after carrying out the delimitation exercise.”

In a plea, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) had alleged that the state poll panel didn’t provide reservation for women and SC and ST candidates in accordance with 2011 census rather using 1991 census.

The DMK sought quashing of the December 7 contentious notification. A Bench, headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, said the state poll panel and the government should apply 2011 census to all impending elections despite number of seats determined by the delimitation commission after carrying out the delimitation exercise.

“This order would serve the ends of justice and the cause of free and fair local bodies’ elections in the state,” the CJI said. The Congress was represented by former finance minister P Chidambaram, who was released on bail in the INX Media case only a few days ago. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing the state government, contested this argument referring it a “bogus” petition with an aim to stall the election process.

The Tamil Nadu state election commission (SEC) has already issued the notification with a truncated schedule for the civic polls and nominations have commenced on Monday.

As per the schedule, elections to village panchayats will be held in two phases on December 27 and 30. Elections to town Panchayats, municipalities and the city corporations would be announced later.