CHENNAI: Madras High Court on Friday ordered the State Election Commission (SEC) to respond to the representations made by AIADMK to ensure free and fair polls for the rural civic bodies in nine districts. The AIADMK demanded nominating Central and other State officers as observers, deploying Central forces for security and electronic surveillance of the poll process in all the poll-bound districts.
Passing orders on a petition filed by AIADMK’s election wing deputy secretary IS Inbadurai, the first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu ordered the SEC to despatch its reply to the representation submitted by the party on September 14. “In any event, the State Election Commission should respond to the petitioner’s representation by September 29, 2021,” the bench said.
Issuing the notice to the Tamil Nadu government and the SEC, the bench posted the hearing of the matter to September 30. “The only thing is, as far as we are concerned, you must ensure a free and fair poll where the people have the right to exercise their choice and that choice has to be respected,” the bench said.
Senior Counsel Vijay Narayan, appearing for the AIADMK, stressed that at least one observer per panchayat union must be nominated and they should be drawn from the services of the Central or other State governments. He wanted Central security forces to be deployed for guarding the strong rooms, where ballot boxes would be kept after the polling and electronic surveillance of the poll process using web cameras and CCTV cameras. He also said the SEC has not yet responded to the memorandum submitted by AIADMK.
Polls to rural civic bodies in Kancheepuram, Chengalpet, Ranipet, Vellore, Tirupathur, Villupuram, Kallakurichi, Tirunelveli, and Tenkasi have been scheduled to be held on October 6 and 9 in two phases. The filing of nomination papers to contest for district panchayats, panchayat unions and village panchayats went on from September 15 to 22.