Tamil Nadu

Local body polls: Why should law not be followed, CJ asks T.N.


Is delimitation not necessary after bifurcation of districts, CJI asks TN counsel

During the hearing of a petition filed by the DMK seeking postponement of local body polls pending delimitation exercise in nine reconstituted districts, senior advocates representing the Tamil Nadu government initially argued while opposing the petition. However, Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde asked: “We are not against your bifurcation or trifurcation [of districts], but having done that, why should the law [on delimitation] not be followed?”

The hearing was based on arguments made by petitioners, advocate Jaya Sukin and the DMK, represented by senior advocates Kapil Sibal, A.M. Singhvi and P. Wilson, that the Constitution mandated fresh delimitation after the reconstitution of nine districts.

“Having an election next week is not an end in itself. Having a good election is an end in itself. This is not about any ego,” Mr. Singhvi argued. “Is delimitation not necessary after bifurcation or trifurcation of districts? The time of election is not the negation of democracy. As a State you are a contributor (to the democratic process). The law must be followed,” the Chief Justice told the government.

Senior advocates Rohatgi and Sundaram, representing the State, argued that this case was merely an effort to delay the elections. Senior advocate P.S. Narasimha contended that delimitation was not necessary after reconstitution of districts.

There was no need for delimitation after bifurcation of districts. The delimitation based on population census was already done, he said.

Mr. Rohatgi said the Constitution demanded that an election be held every five years, and the local body polls had been already delayed. He said the delimitation process was completed in 2018 after taking into consideration the 2011 census.

“So if you (TN government) have waited all this while, why not wait for two more weeks, conduct delimitation and do a complete job... This is not a question of ego,” Mr. Singhvi retorted.

“Each district is bifurcated or trifurcated into new districts which will have new wards, whose boundaries will change, profile of population will change. All this has to be taken into account in the delimitation exercise,” Mr. Singhvi submitted.

The CJI agreed that each district was made up of wards, and so, the earlier district's wards could not be carried over to the new districts. Resultant changes had to be taken into account.

Mr. Sibal said the proper conduct of local body polls was part of democracy.

The DMK had filed an application in the Supreme Court for a direction to the authorities to carry out delimitation, reservation and rotational process before issuance of election notification for local body polls taking into consideration the new districts carved out in the State. Only this would ensure fair polls, the party had argued.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 10:38:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/local-body-polls-why-should-law-not-be-followed-cj-asks-tn/article30199961.ece

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