The Supreme Court on Friday allowed the local body elections in Tamil Nadu to be conducted as per schedule, except in nine newly bifurcated districts. In those nine districts, elections should be held within four months after delimitation process is complete, ordered the bench.
The bench comprising CJI SA Bobde, Justices Surya Kant and B R Gavai had reserved orders on the petition yesterday.
The plea was moved by DMK seeking postponement of local body elections in Tamil Nadu, which are scheduled for December 27 and Dec 30, on grounds that delimitation of 9 newly bifurcated districts have not taken place.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared on behalf of the DMK and informed the court that the newly bifurcated districts would entail a change in boundaries, population profile and have new wards. Highlighting this, it was urged that since the due process of delimitation had not taken place, elections should be postponed till the same is complete.
CJI Bobde then turned to the government of Tamil Nadu, represented by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, and said that they were responsible for delaying elections by bifurcating the districts and are now saying that the procedure of delimitation is not required. He also stated that the law must be followed, and "if it involves postponement (of elections), so be it."
The state election commission made a suggestion that the bifurcation could be withdrawn and polls be conducted accordingly. The Bench seemed to agree with the same, and directed this to Singhvi. The CJI then gave the parties the option that bifurcation could be withdrawn and polls be conducted as per the suggestion, or polls may be conducted as per schedule in exclusion of the newly bifurcated districts.
The Bench then went on to direct the Advocate General of Tamil Nadu, Vijay Narayanan, to seek instructions from the government regarding these proposals.
The Advocate General came back post lunch and submitted that the the state election commission was agreeable to conduct elections for all other districts except the 9 newly bifurcated ones.
Taking this into account, the bench reserved its order.