Tamil Nadu

Can’t hold civic polls by Nov. 17: SEC

‘Legally incapacitated by ordinance’

The Tamil Nadu State Election Commission has approached the Madras High Court expressing its inability to conduct local body elections by November 17 as ordered by the court on September 4. It pointed out that the State government had passed an ordinance on September 3 repealing certain legal provisions related to territorial division of civic bodies into wards and created a peculiar situation where “there exists no wards” as on date.

Urging the court to either modify its order or keep it in abeyance, the State Election Commissioner M. Malik Feroz Khan said the commission could not bring the “legal disability” to the court’s notice before the judgment was pronounced since it was unaware of the ordinance on that day. It was only thereafter, the commission found itself incapacitated to conduct the elections.

The ordinance had repealed Sections 28A, 28AA, 28AAA of Tamil Nadu Panchayats Act of 1994; Sections 46AA, 46AAA and 46AAAA of Chennai City Municipal Corporation Act of 1919; Sections 43AA, 43AAA and 43AAAA of Tamil Nadu District Municipalities Act of 1920; Sections 50A, 50AA and 50AAA of Madurai City Municipal Corporation Act of 1971; and Sections 52A, 52AA and 52AAA of the Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation Act of 1981.

Pointing out that the crucial legal provisions related to division of local bodies into wards had been repealed through the ordinance, the commissioner said that, at present, it would be legally impossible to conduct the polls. Stating that a case related to delimitation of wards was pending before the Supreme Court, the commissioner felt that the local body polls could be conducted after the apex courtdelivers its verdict on the issue.

The Commission’s latest petition is expected to be listed for hearing before the first Division Bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M. Sundar who had directed it to issue a notification for the elections by September 18 and complete the process by November 17.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 12:38:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/cant-hold-civic-polls-by-nov-17-sec/article19711638.ece

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