The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear on December 5 an application filed by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the single largest Opposition party in Tamil Nadu, 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 five new districts carved out in the State.
Appearing before a Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde, senior advocate A.M. Singhvi sought an urgent listing of the application as the elections were due shortly in December.
On November 18, the court ordered the authorities to issue an election notification and complete the legal formalities before December 13, the next date of hearing.
The DMK submitted in court, Directions should be issued to the respondents to carry out delimitation, reservation and rotation process and all the formal legal requirements before issuance of election notification and conduct of elections. Only this would ensure free and fair elections, it said.
The State government had informed that the local body polls would be conducted in accordance with the delimitation process completed in 2018.
These polls have not been held from 2016. The Madras High Court had also directed the holding of elections. Lawyer Jaya Sukin had filed a petition for the conduct of polls.
In its affidavit earlier this year, the government had submitted in the court that it had never shied from its constitutional responsibilities. It had denied claims by Mr. Sukin that lack of local body representatives had crippled development work in rural areas.
The government had said in court that it had appointed Block Development Officers as special officers of village panchayats for uninterrupted discharge of civic maintenance responsibilities under the Tamil Nadu Panchayats Act 1994. It had clarified that ample funds had been released to village panchayats on time for carrying out civic works.