The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to pass any order at this stage on an application filed by the Tamil Nadu government to vacate an interim order restraining the Election Commission from holding the polls to the State Legislative Council revived after nearly 25 years.
A Bench of Justice J.M. Panchal and Justice H.L. Gokhale, after hearing senior counsel Abhishek Singhvi, Tamil Nadu Additional Advocate General P. Wilson and Counsel S. Thananjayan, however, allowed the State to implead in the case.
When Mr. Singhvi said that the Election Commission had already finalised the electoral rolls and stay should be vacated, counsel Guru Krishna Kumar, appearing for the petitioners, opposed the plea and pointed out that the State was already a party to these proceedings.
The Bench said it would consider the stay application along with the main petitions and advanced the date of hearing from July to the first week of April.
The Bench asked the State to file its response to the special Leave Petitions filed by Tindivanam K. Ramamurthee, president of the Nationalist Congress Party, Bharatiya Janata Party and M. Bharathiar questioning the High Court judgment dated December 16, 2010 upholding the Election Commission's decision to hold the polls.
In its application the State said the draft electoral rolls were published on October 25, 2010 and the final list was published on January 20 and this fact was not brought to the knowledge of the court by the Election Commission when it sought a clarification.
The State said the Bench had stayed the polls on the presumption that preparation of electoral rolls was under progress.
It said about seven crore people in Tamil Nadu expected the constitution of the Council and there was no justifiable reason for the State to be kept away and not cited as a respondent in the petitions filed.
The State pointed out that much time, energy and money had been spent for enrolment of voters for teachers and graduates constituencies and on appointment of electoral and registration officers.
The State had geared itself to hold the polls in the first week of March and the Election Commission was also informed. While so, an interim order staying the elections and posting the matter for hearing in July would serve no purpose.
It said the Legislative Council was revived through a legislation passed in 2010. Parliament had enacted a law approving the council. Further the President, in consultation with the Election Commission, had issued the Delimitation of Council Constituencies (Tamil Nadu) Order on September 30, 2010. There was no legal infirmity involving in issuing the order, the application said and prayed for a direction to vacate the stay on holding of polls to the Legislative Council in the State.