Ordering that a September notification of the Puducherry State Election Commission relating to allotment of revised seats and offices of Chairpersons at the panchayat level should not be implemented, the Madras High Court on Thursday said notification for elections to civic bodies in the Union Territory should be issued after completion of delimitation process based on the 2011 census.

PIL petition

In its order in a public interest litigation petition, the First Bench comprising Chief Justice M.Y.Eqbal and Justice T.S.Sivagnanam said any election which is held based on the 1991 census or earlier notifications would at best be an election on paper and would not reflect the true opinion of the electorate. The delimitation of municipal wards and village wards should be carried out based on the 2011 census.

Simultaneously, reservation for backward classes should be done prior to the civic body elections.

The petitioner, J.Anandalakshmi of Sakthinagar, a former councillor, prayed for a direction to the authorities to make necessary delimitation of constituencies and to meet the statutory requirements before conducting the local body elections for municipal wards, commune and village panchayats.

The notification, dated September 27, had been issued without conducting the delimitation process.

The Bench observed that if the increase in the population was not considered, it would result in grave prejudice. It would virtually defeat the very purpose of conducting elections to the civic bodies. No person had a right to insist that the polls should be conducted based on the 1991 census when admittedly the 2011 census had been completed and provisionally prepared and when there was no delimitation or reservation done.

The Government Pleader submitted that the 2011 census (provisional) had already been received, except for the SC population. If reasonable time is granted, the same would be obtained and steps taken to complete delimitation.

Following this, the Bench ordered that after obtaining the approved census for 2011 within two months, the government should carry out the delimitation of municipal and village wards and reservation for BC. The election should be notified after completing the delimitation process and reservation notification. The election process should be completed within three months from the date of receipt of the delimitation notification from the Puducherry Government. The Bench posted the matter for further hearing after five months.

Notification withdrawn

Following the court directive, the Puducherry State Election Commission (PSEC) withdrew the local body poll announcement and the notification on model code of conduct. The announcement was made by State Election Commissioner Uddipta Ray at a press conference here.

He said all preparations initiated by the PSEC to conduct the elections had been stopped.

  • Bars implementation of September 27 notification

  • Says delimitation should be based on 2011 census