Tamil Nadu

Supreme Court agrees to hear DMK’s plea on byelection to three seats


Party wants polls to all 21 vacant Assembly constituencies on April 18

The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a petition filed by the DMK, seeking a direction to the Election Commission (EC) to notify the bypolls and publish the election schedule for the vacant Assembly constituencies of Aravakurichi, Ottapidaram (SC) and Tirupparankundram in Tamil Nadu.

The party said the byelections to the three seats should be conducted along with the polls for the 18 other vacant constituencies, scheduled for April 18.

The petition was mentioned by senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, appearing for the DMK, before a Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. The case was posted to March 15 for hearing.

Mr. Singhvi noted that the EC had notified bypolls to 18 of the 21 vacant seats, slated to be held on April 18 along with the Lok Sabha polls in the State.

In the Tirupparankundram Assembly constituency, the election of the AIADMK’s A.K. Bose was challenged by the runner-up, DMK candidate P. Saravanan. In the interregnum, Mr. Bose died, and the election petition was pending for orders. There was, however, no stay on conducting elections, the DMK’s petition said.

In Aravakurichi, AIADMK MLA Senthil Balaji was disqualified by the Speaker, along with 17 other dissident MLAs, on September 18, 2017. The Ottapidaram (SC) constituency was represented by disqualified AIADMK MLA Sundararaj.

Pending petitions

Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo on Sunday said bypolls were not scheduled for the Tirupparankundram, Ottapidaram and Aravakurichi constituencies as election petitions were pending in the Madras High Court.

The DMK said it had moved the Supreme Court as a “stakeholder in democracy”.

CPI(M)’s claim

There is an ulterior motive behind the Election Commission’s decision to withhold byelections to three of the 21 vacant Assembly constituencies in the State, CPI(M) State secretary K. Balakrishnan has alleged.

Addressing journalists in Madurai on Tuesday, he said the EC’s decision had raised serious concerns whether the Parliamentary polls would be held in a free and fair manner. “There were no legitimate reasons for not conducting byelections to these three Assembly constituencies. The courts have not prevented [the authorities] from conducting the elections,” he said.

Alleging that the only reason for the exclusion of the three seats was to prevent the AIADMK from losing power, since the scenario of the DMK winning all 21 constituencies would result in the ruling party losing its majority in the Assembly, he claimed that the AIADMK, through the BJP, had pressured the EC to withhold the elections.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 4:19:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/sc-agrees-to-hear-dmks-plea-on-byelection-to-three-seats/article26515821.ece

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