HC dismisses SEC’s plea for time to submit CCTV footages


The poll body had sought time to submit the coverage citing technical reasons


The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Wednesday dismissed the petition filed by the State Election Commission (SEC), seeking additional time to submit CCTV footages of the counting process in the rural local body polls in the 12 districts (excluding Tirunelveli and Tenkasi) falling under its jurisdiction.

Since the SEC was unable to confirm the date of submission of the footages, a Division Bench of Justices M. Duraiswamy and T. Ravindran observed that the reasons given for extension of time could not be accepted.

The Bench observed that the court had directed the SEC to submit the footages to the High Court Registry on January 3. However, even after the election results were announced, the footages had not been submitted. The Bench dismissed the petition that sought extension of time, citing technical reasons, as devoid of merits.

The court continued to hear petitions alleging irregularities in the conduct of the local body polls for the third consecutive day. It also extended the stay on the conduct of the swearing in of the president of Sankarapuram village panchayat in Sivaganga district.

Two women candidates, M. Devi and A. Priyadharshini, had contested for the post of panchayat president, which was reserved for woman (general). First, Ms. Devi was declared elected and then following a commotion, Ms. Priyadharshini was announced the winner. Both the candidates had been awarded certificates.

The court had ordered a stay on the conduct of the swearing in of the president. During the hearing, Additional Advocate General K. Chellapandian said when Ms. Devi was declared elected, the counting process was not complete. when the entire counting process was completed, it was established that Ms. Priyadharshini had secured more votes. The certificate given to Ms. Devi was cancelled by the Returning Officer.

The court asked the State how the Returning Officer/ Election Officer had exercised such a power.

In a counter filed in the court, the Sivaganga Collector stated that action had been initiated by framing appropriate charges against the Returning Officer and the Assistant Returning Officer under Rule 17 (b) of the Tamil Nadu Civil Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules.

The case was adjourned till January 13.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 12:03:49 PM |

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