Madras HC Directs AG to File Reply on PIL on Civic Bypolls
CHENNAI: Madras High Court today directed the Tamil Nadu Advocate General to file a detailed reply within two days on a PIL challenging the August 28 notification of State Election Commission to fill up vacancies in local bodies for posts of mayors, municipal chairmen and councillors.
The First Bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M Sathyanarayanan, had on August 5 directed counsels for various departments, including the Secretary,
Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department, to get instructions on the petition and posted the matter for today.
After hearing the counsel for various departments today, the bench adjourned the case to September 10.
In his PIL, advocate K Kartikeyan alleged that the notification is violative of Tamil Nadu Town Panchayats, Third
Grade Municipalities and Corporations/Election Rules 2006, as per which the notification of programme of election to be published in the government gazette should contain the date of publication of the public notice of election.
He submitted that the rules specify that the notification date and publication date should be different, whereas it was not so in the present case.
Karthikeyan contended that the government first announced the date of commencement of byelection process on August 6 in which the election date was mentioned as September 18. However the poll process commencing date was postponed to August 28.
Here too, the election date was not changed and was mentioned as September 18.
Karthikeyan submitted the short 27-day duration would not provide sufficient time for candidates for election campaign and that the time schedule was grossly reduced without any reason.
It would "hamper the rights of candidates", particularly those from unrecognised political parties and independents, who cannot afford to campaign in a big way to reach the public or convey their agenda or poll promises.
Karthikeyan submitted that it is a settled law that reasonable time be granted for election campaign to all contestants for conducting the poll in a fair manner.
He contended that it is illegal to provide a short span of time for the date of polling from the date of commencement of elections a nd sought an interim direction to stay operation of the notification.