The State Election Commission today told the Madras High Court that it is ready to conduct the local body elections in Tamil Nadu by July 2017. In an affidavit to the bench of justices Huluvadi G Ramesh and RMT Teekaa Raaman, the poll panel said it was ready to conduct the polls by the end of July, provided the state government too complies with all the directions issued earlier by a single-judge bench for conducting the poll. The division bench before which the appeals of the SEC and the Tamil Nadu government against the order of the single judge came up, dismissed a petition by an NGO, Change India, seeking to be made party to the litigation to have its say on the matter.
The bench also adjourned all the appeals to July 14, 2017. The single-judge bench in its October 4, 2016 order had directed the SEC to complete the local body polls by December 31, 2016. Earlier, when the matter came up before the division bench, senior advocate P Wilson, appearing for RS Bharathi of DMK, the original petitioner, argued that the SEC was directed by the single judge to conduct the elections by December 31, 2016.
The Election Commission, however, challenged the single- judge bench order before the division, citing some practical difficulties in conducting the poll by December 31, 2016 and sought further time to conduct the polls. It had also then given an undertaking that it would be able to conduct the polls by May 14, Wilson submitted.
Earlier, the secretary of the Tamil Nadu State Election Commission had filed an affidavit seeking extension of time to complete the election process before July 2017, he added. Wilson also wanted the Commissioner to give an undertaking that he would not ask for further postponement of the elections.