No stay on delimitation, Kerala High Court nod to hold civic polls

Sources said that the SEC would go by the local bodies that existed as on 1.11.2010.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the High Court leaving the conduct of local bodies poll to the discretion of State Election Commission and the government not planning to go for any further appeal , the elections are likely to be held on time as per November 1, 2010 delimitation.

Sources close to SEC said that it was the constitutional obligation to complete the electoral process on time.

Though the HC left it to the discretion of the Election Commission, in effect the latter had no option as it had to fulfil the constitutional responsibility of putting in place local bodies governing councils before November 1, 2015.

Sources said that the SEC would go by the local bodies that existed as on 1.11.2010.

Meanwhile, an embarrassed Muslim League is holding its high power meeting on Friday to bail itself out of the embarrassing situation.

Earlier, a division bench of Kerala High Court on Thursday refused to stay a single bench order setting aside the state’s decision to constitute 69 panchayats and four municipalities as part of its delimitation process.

The bench permitted the State Election Commission to hold the local bodies elections within the time prescribed at its discretion.

“It is the constitutional obligation of the election commission to conduct the elections. The commission is free to take an appropriate decision and measures for conducting the elections,” the court held. It asked the state to provide all the facilities to the commission to conduct the elections on time.

The bench comprising Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice A.M. Shaffique issued the order on the two appeals filed by the state challenging the single judge's order. The court will consider the case again after the Onam vacations on September 3.

Seeking a stay, Advocate-General K.P. Dandapani contended that the elections to the local bodies could be held in time even if the court stayed the verdict.

Though the election commission informed the bench that it can conduct the elections on the basis of the delimitation of 2010, the court observed that it is not for the court to express any opinion on the submission.

The commission pointed out that it has to discharge its constitutional obligation of holding the elections within the time mandated by the Constitution.

The election to the local self-government institutions should be held before October 30. At present, the elections can be held based only on the constituencies as they stood on the date of the last general elections in 2011.

The state formed 32 new municipalities but the single judge quashed the order to form four. Appeals challenging the formation of the other 28 are pending before the division bench. The court observed that the election commission can take an appropriate decision.

State delayed the delimitation

Though the election commission had asked the state to take steps to complete the delimitation process in 2012, the state constituted a delimitation commission only on January 5, 2015.

The commission filed its report on April 30. The strength of panchayats was announced on May 11 and block panchayats on August 6.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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