The Madras High Court, on Thursday, observed that it cannot order a stay on the Thiruvarur bye-election which is scheduled to be held on January 28. The High Court was hearing a petition filed by Sathyanarayanan on behalf of the farmers in the Cauvery delta region. In his petition filed on Wednesday, he had sought the courtâ€™s intervention to order a stay on the Election Commission of India (ECI) issuing gazette notification about the bye-polls subsequently stay the poll process itself.
Sathyanarayanan stated that announcement for conducting bye-election would hamper Cyclone Gaja relief works being carried out in the delta regions, especially in Thiruvarur district since Model Code of Conduct would come into force on the date ECI notifies the election. He also submitted that if the elections are notified in the region, the people living there cannot celebrate Pongal, Tamil Naduâ€™s harvest festival.
This petition was initially heard on Wednesday when the court categorically stated that it cannot interfere in the business of the ECI and refused to order a stay on the ECI notifying the elections. The ECI notified the Thiruvarur bye-election in the gazette on Thursday following which Sathyanarayanan filed a writ petition seeking a stay on conducting the bye-election on January 28 due to the reasons mentioned in the original petition.
The writ petition was heard on Thursday by a division bench consisting of Justices M Sathyanarayanan and Rajamanickam.
The ECI submitted that according to law, bye-election must be conducted within 6 months of any constituency that falls vacant. Since Thiruvarur Assembly seat became vacant on August 7 due to DMK MLA M Karunanidhiâ€™s death, elections to that assembly seat must be conducted before February 7. The counsel for ECI also submitted that the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary can write to the ECI and then carry out relief works in the district.
The High Court dismissed the writ petition stating that the court cannot issue a stay on the conduct of election in Thiruvarur. The judges also ordered the government of Tamil Nadu to respond to the original petition filed by the petitioner before February 7 when it will be heard again.