The Supreme Court has agreed to hear on Thursday a fresh plea of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) seeking a direction to the Election Commission to complete formalities such as delimitation of constituencies and reservation aspects before going ahead with the panchayat and local body election in Tamil Nadu.
A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde took note of the submissions of senior advocate AM Singhvi, appearing for the DMK, that the plea needed to be heard urgently as the poll panel announced Monday morning that elections to rural local bodies in Tamil Nadu will be held in two phases, on December 27 and 30.
Filing of nominations for the elections would commence on December 6, the senior lawyer said, adding that the poll process has been set in motion "without concluding the legal formalities" with regard to delimitation exercise and reservation aspects in the upcoming elections.
"List it for hearing on Thursday," said the bench, which also comprised Justice BR Gavai and Justice Surya Kant.
There are three processes, commission delimitation of each wards of all the Local Bodies, reservation of office of chairman or mayor in a town Panchayat, Municipality or Corporation and rotation policy, which are to be carried out by the state government and the Tamil Nadu Delimitation Commission which is then to be implemented by the Tamil Nadu State Election.
The plea, filed through Amit Anand Tiwari, said the state Election Commission has not followed legal requirements, though it informed the apex court about issuing notification for the elections.
"These mandatory legal processes are required to be carried out before issuance of any election notification, since the same will not only be ensuring compliance of legal mandate making the election free and fair but also benefit the voters, enable the development of amenities, facilities and status of Wards/Divisions/Municipalities/Districts Panchayats/ Panchayat union councils and village panchayats," the plea said.
The DMK alleged that the present Tamil Nadu government was dragging its feet for conducting polls and had not carried out delimitation activity for the newly made nine districts and claimed that in many districts even preliminary exercise of delimitation has not been carried out.
"The basic legal requirement of publishing draft delimitation proposal/order has not been carried out and in the absence of such publication, neither any objections have been invited or have been received, nor any hearing has been conducted.
"The delimitation authority has also not carried out rotation and reservation of seats, exercise subsequent to publication of draft delimitation order. Hence, state election commission has so far not carried out and completed basic legal formalities therefore, cannot be permitted to local bodies polls in a manner which would not be fair and free and would also be contrary to the mandatory legal requirements," the plea said.