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The Madras High Court on Tuesday admitted an appeal filed by State Election Commission (SEC) against the order of a single judge who set aside the notification for the local body elections in Tamil Nadu. A division bench also ordered issue of notices to the state Government and DMK on the matter returnable by four weeks. The High Court had on October four declared the notification for civic polls in the state, scheduled for October 17 and 19, as null and void, holding that it violated the Tamil Nadu Panchayat Election Rules. It also directed authorities to issue a fresh notification for holding the election and complete the process by December 31, on a petition by DMK. In his petition, DMK leader and Rajya Sabha member RS Barathy had contended that rules were not followed and mandatory reservation for Scheduled Tribes was not provided in the civic posts. Challenging the Single Judge's order the SEC filed an appeal. In its appeal, the Commission submitted that the order setting aside the September 26th notification issued for civic Polls had resulted in grave miscarriage of justice. It was also submitted that the Single Judge had failed to see that once election notification is published, the entire state machinery can be requisitioned by the Election Commission for election-related work. "Therefore, it is not desirable to prolong the period as it may result in administrative inconvenience. The observation of the judge that the SEC had acted with unwarranted hurry is not justified in the facts of the case", the SEC submitted. Elections have to be held within a stipulated time as it was imperative that new body must take office by the end of October 2016.
The judge also erred in stating that the ruling party had advance information regarding the polls.The observation may not be justified in the facts of this case, it was submitted. The SEC argued that the judge failed to see that the so-called contravention of Rule 24/25 of the Tamil Nadu Panchayat Rules may not amount to illegalities. Also, at the best, it can only be an irregularity which will not justify stopping of election after the election notification had been issued.