Chennai: Alleging that the state election commission is acting hand in glove with the state government in not conducting the local body elections, the DMK party has approached the Madras High Court to direct the state election commission to hold elections to all local bodies in the state including Panchayats and municipalities within a time frame as may be fixed by the court.
Justice M. Duraiswamy before whom the petition filed by DMK represented by its Organisation Secretary R.S. Bharathi, came up for hearing ordered notice, returnable by four weeks, to the state government, State election Commission and state election commissioner M. Malik Feroze Khan.
Senior counsel P. Wilson, appearing for the petitioner submitted that on a petition filed by the petitioner, alleging in irregularities in the election process, a single judge had quashed the earlier election notification and directed the state election commission to issue fresh notification and conclude the election process before December 31, 2016. When the petitioner's SLP came up for hearing before the Supreme Court, the election commission informed the court that the election would be held in July 2017, Wilson added.
Wilson said since the term of the local bodies came to an end on October 24, 2016, by issuing an Ordinance, the government appointed special officers having a term up to December 31, 2016. Subsequently, another Ordinance was issued by substituting the tenure up to June 30, 2017. Thereafter the government issued another Ordinance, further, substituting the tenure up to December 31, 2017.
The net effect was that the state government was managing the constitutional bodies with the help of special officers under the garb of the pendency of appeal and SLPs. DMK's working president M.K. Stalin had opposed the said bills tooth and nail and explained that there was no bar to conduct the elections, particularly in the light of the orders of the court. Now the state introduced a Bill to form a delimitation commission in the assembly July 10 solely with an intention to further delay the local body election process. This was done ingeniously to subvert the constitutional requirements, Wilson added.