Tamil Nadu

DMK files contempt plea in Supreme Court over civic polls

‘Officials disobeyed order on quota’

The DMK on Monday filed a contempt petition in the Supreme Court against top officials of the State government for disregarding a December 6 order of the apex court to provide “proportionate reservation at all levels” for the local body elections, due in a few days’ time.

The DMK arraigned K. Shanmugam, the Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu; R. Palanisamy, the State Election Commissioner and Chairman of the Delimitation Commission; Hansraj Verma, the Additional Chief Secretary; and L. Subramanian, the secretary to the State Election Commission.

The party argued that a fresh press release for the local body elections was issued by these authorities in a “tearing hurry”, the very next day after the court issued the order, without considering the requirement of providing proportionate reservation at all levels of panchayats under Rule 6 of the Tamil Nadu Panchayats (Reservation of Seats and Rotation of Reserved Seats) Rules, 1995. This amounted to “deliberate and willful disobedience”.

On December 6, a Bench led by Chief Justice Sharad A. Bobde allowed the holding of panchayat polls in 27 districts. It gave the State four months’ time to complete a fresh delimitation exercise in 9 newly constituted districts. On December 11, the court made it clear that the 2011 population census figures shall be used for reserving territorial wards and offices for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and women in all impending panchayat elections in Tamil Nadu. The court had also shortened the time granted for completing the delimitation exercise in the 9 new districts from four to three months.

The DMK further alleged that the December 7 notification sought to provide for the reservation of seats on the basis of the 2016 notification.

“The said act of the respondents is on the face of it contemptuous since the Delimitation Act of 2017 was passed for the State of Tamil Nadu and on the basis of the same, a fresh delimitation exercise had already been carried out in 2018. It is trite in law that when a statutory authority has to act in a particular manner, he is expected to act in that manner and not at all,” the petition said.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 4:05:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/dmk-files-contempt-plea-in-supreme-court-over-civic-polls/article30324844.ece

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