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HC directs TN SEC to submit local body poll schedule on Aug 6

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Press Trust of India Chennai
The Madras High Court today lambasted the Tamil Nadu State Election Commission for not implementing its order on holding local body elections and directed it to submit the poll schedule on August 6.
The first bench of the high court comprising 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 September 4, 2017 order.
Observing that the SEC should be declared guilty of contempt, the Chief Justice 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.
The matter relates to the contempt petition filed by R S Bharathi of DMK against State Election Commissioner Malik Feroz Khan and its secretary Rajasekhar, for not complying with the September 4 order of the court directing that the local body polls be completed by November 17, 2017.
The bench also sought to know from the SEC and the contempt petitioner, the position of a related case pending before the Supreme Court.
To this, the petitioner's counsel submitted that the case before the apex court had nothing to do with the petition on which the high court had already passed orders.
The bench said mere pendency of a petition would not amount to a stay.
"We have clearly mentioned in the order that the election shall be conducted based on 2001 census. As per your submissions before the Supreme Court, even the present delimitation process should have been completed by January 2018," it added.
When the court directed the the SEC counsel to furnish the schedule for the elections, he sought time till 2.15 PM.
To this the court observed that it cannot sit five times for the case following which the counsel submitted that the poll schedule would be produced on Monday.
Pressing for contempt proceedings against the SEC officials, the counsel for the petitioner said owing to the non-implementation of the order, central funds worth Rs 4,000 crores due to local bodies in the state were going waste.
The bench then posted the matter for hearing on August 6 and warned the SEC that even other wise it may have to face the contempt.
The local body polls were originally slated to be held in October 2016, but cancelled by a single judge bench of the high court on a petition by the DMK seeking among others appropriate reservation as per latest census and rotation of seats according to the norms.

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First Published: Jul 31 2018 | 5:50 PM IST

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