With the Madras High Court cancelling the local body elections in the state scheduled this month, Tamil Nadu government has promulgated ordinances for appointment of special officers to discharge the functions of the civic bodies. The Tamil Nadu Panchyats (Third Amendment) Ordinance 2016, promulgated by Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao on October 17 for further amending the Tamil Nadu Panchayats Act, 1994, has been issued as the term of the present local bodies will come to an end later this month. In its appeal against the single judge's October 4 order, the State Election Commission (SEC) has submitted that as per Constitutional provisions, elections must be conducted for local bodies once in five years.
In Tamil Nadu the polls should be completed on or before October 24. The high court had set aside the September 26 notification issued by the SEC for the civic polls for October 17 and 19 and directed authorities to issue a fresh one for holding the election and complete the process before December. It was passing interim orders on a petition by DMK Rajya Sabha MP R S Barathy who challenged the election on the ground that rules were not followed and mandatory reservation for Scheduled Tribes was not provided in the civic posts. Over 4.97 lakh nominations had been filed by candidates to contest from over 1.31 lakh civic body posts, including 1,18,974 posts in rural and 12,820 posts in urban local bodies before the court set aside the notification. "Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, or in any other law for the time being in force, the Government may, by notification, appoint Special Officers to exercise the powers and discharge the functions of the village panchayats, the panchayat union councils or the district panchayats, as the case may be," till the first meeting of these local bodies were held after ordinary elections," the ordinance said. The Governor also promulgated the Tamil Nadu Municipal Laws (Third Amendment) Ordinance, 2016 to amend the Tamil Nadu District Municipalities Act, 1920. Dated October 17, 2016, the ordinance also covered acts governing the Municipal Corporations of Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Tiruchirappalli, Tirunelveli, Salem, Tiruppur, Erode, Vellore, Thoothukudi, Thanjavur and Dindidgul for appointing Special Officers "to exercise the powers and discharge the functions" of the corporations.