The Madras High Court bench of Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice PD Audikesavalu has refused to grant any interim stay on notifying/ conducting urban local body polls in the state.
Senior counsel S Prabakaran, representing one of the petitioners Dr. M. Nakkeeran, said given the alarming Covid-19 pandemic situation unfolding now, the elections can be postponed and nothing is going to be lost if the polls are delayed since the civic bodies had been headless for several years.
He charged the Tamil Nadu State Election Commission (TNSEC) of not taking stock of the ground situation on the surging Covid-19 virus infection before preparing for the polls. The TNSEC had not even reviewed the number of containment zones in the places where the polls are proposed to be held, Prabakaran, said. He further said safety of the life of the citizens is involved in the matter and pitched for delaying the polls by two months so that the situation would ease.
The counsel for TNSEC Siva Shanmugam submitted the poll notification will be issued by January 27 as per the orders of the Supreme Court. He explained that a circular on Covid-19 protocol was issued by the poll body and all the standard operating procedures followed during the rural local body polls will be followed.
The Bench after hearing both the parties refused to grant any interim orders to restrain the issuance of notification or the polls as sought by the petitioners. The bench allowed hybrid mode of hearing for the counsels as an exception since there were some technical problems troubling audio during the virtual hearing on Friday.
The matter is set for January 24, 2022.
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