Staff Reporter

Sivaganga Municipals chairman election

MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Wednesday ordered the conduct of the Sivaganga Municipal Chairman election, scheduled for November 30, under the direct supervision of the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG) concerned.

Disposing of public interest litigation petitions moved by two Independent councillors, a Division Bench comprising Justices D. Murugesan and P. Murgesen directed the DIG to be present at the election venue from 8 a.m. till the result is declared. The officer was directed to deploy adequate police force.

On the petitioners' plea to appoint an observer, the judges said the State Election Commission was free to assess the situation and appoint an observer, if necessary.

Postponed twice

The election was originally scheduled for October 28. It could not be held due to disturbances and was postponed to November 13. Meanwhile, one of the councillors moved a PIL petition seeking a direction to appoint an observer. The judges refused to appoint an observer, but directed the State Election Commission to ensure a free and fair election.

The Collector again postponed the election indefinitely without assigning any reason. The councillor filed another petition. The Collector informed the court that the election was postponed pursuant to a communication from the Superintendent of Police, who suggested shifting of the election venue.

The SP had said that the Municipal Council Hall would not be a desirable venue as it was located in a busy locality and there was chance of violence in view of the prevailing animosity between political parties.

Pursuant to the communication, the election to be held on November 13 was postponed to November 30.

But the State Election Commission could not shift the venue due to a legal hurdle.