Chennai: The State Election Commission on Monday informed the Madras high court that it would conduct the local body elections tentatively by May 15. When the appeal filed by Tamil Nadu State Election Commission, against an order of a single judge came up for hearing before a division bench comprising Justices Nooty Ramamohana Rao and S.M. Subramaniam, senior counsel B.Kumar, appearing for TNSEC, submitted that the election commission is making all preparations for the conduct of local body elections and it would conduct the elections by May 15. The bench posted to February 21, further hearing of the case.
Originally, on a petition from the DMK party, a single judge had on October 4 set aside the election notifications issued by the TNSEC for conduct of local body elections on October 17 and 18 and directed it to issue fresh notification, conduct elections and complete the election process by December 31. Aggrieved, the TNSEC filed the present appeal.
In its appeal, the SEC submitted that the single judge order setting aside the September 26 election notification had resulted in grave miscarriage of justice. Rule 24 contemplated two separate notifications — one public notice and the other declaring the poll schedule. The single judge erred in concluding that there must be a time gap between the two notifications.
The judge failed to see that once election notification was published, the entire state machinery can be requisitioned by the SEC for election related work. Therefore, it was 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 was not justified in the facts of the case. 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 observing that the ruling party had advance information. The judge failed to see that the so-called contravention of Rule 24/25 may not amount to illegalities and at best only an irregularity which will not justify stopping of election after the election notification had been issued, the SEC added