Deepali Kalia –
The Supreme Court on June 23rd directed the Tamil Nadu State Election Commission to complete the whole process of local body elections in newly carved 9 districts by 15th September including publication/notification of election schedule and election results.
A miscellaneous application in a plea in which Supreme Court had in December 2019 directed the State to delimit the newly carved 9 districts within 4 months, was being heard by a Bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Aniruddha Bose.
The State had, however, completed the delimitation in more than 18 months and was seeking 6 more months in order to conduct the elections.
“Your tenure ended in 2018-2019. Even the delimitation was supposed to be done in 4 months, but instead, 18 months have passed. Hold the elections by August 31. We are aware of the ground realities. It’s the political parties who are not ready”, the Court stated.
In response, Senior Advocate PS Narasimha, appearing for the Election Commission of India (ECI) stated that COVID 19 pandemic had disrupted the entire process and hence sought more time.
Observing COVID be a “good excuse for all matters”, the Court stated that, “We grant an extension of time till 15th September 2021 to complete the entire process including publication/notification of election schedule and the result thereof before 15th September 2021 as the constitutional mandate to conduct elections in the time-bound manner cannot be defeated in this manner.”