Madras HC refuses to stay urban civic polls, PILs to be heard physically on Monday
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Friday refused to grant an interim stay on urban local body polls in Tamil Nadu and said the public interest litigations will be heard by it physically on Monday. First bench of Acting Chief Justice (ACJ) Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice PD Audikesavalu heard the PILs, including one filed by retired joint director of health department Dr M Nakkeeran, virtually on Friday.
Senior counsel for the petitioner, S Prabakaran, said the polls can be postponed considering the unfolding pandemic situation, and nothing would be lost as civic bodies have been headless for years. He said the Tamil Nadu State Election Commission (TNSEC) had not factored in the surging cases.
The TNSEC had not even reviewed the number of containment zones in places where polls are proposed, Prabakaran said. Since people's lives are involved, polls can be delayed by two months, he said.
Senior Counsel ARL Sundaresan said that when the Supreme Court set the deadline for holding the polls the situation was different. TNSEC counsel Siva Shanmugam said the poll notification must be issued by January 27 as per the orders of the Supreme Court.
A COVID protocol circular has been issued by the poll body and all standard operating procedures followed during rural local body polls will be adhered to in urban polls too, he said. The bench allowed counsels to submit their arguments physically before the court on January 24 as an exception as there were some technical issues during the virtual hearing on Friday.