The local body election has been stalled since October 2016 due to court proceedings and ward delimitation work carried out by the state government.

State Election Commission to notify TN local body polls by May 31File Image/PTI
news Politics Friday, March 01, 2019 - 09:22

After multiple delays, the State Election Commission (SEC) of Tamil Nadu has submitted in court that it will issue a notification for the local body elections in the state by May 31.

According to reports, the submission was made for a contempt plea filed by DMK’s Organising Secretary RS Bharathi, which was being heard by justices M Sathyanarayanan and M Sundar. The court was informed that ward delimitation works as per the 2011 census have been completed and that the SEC would notify the local body elections by May 31.

In September 2017, the then Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, Indira Banerjee had ordered the SEC to complete the election to local bodies by November 2017. However, the SEC did not comply with that order, due to which the DMK filed a contempt of court petition in the Madras High Court. The SEC challenged the contempt plea, which the court has been hearing for the past year. When the case was about to conclude, Justice Indira Banerjee was elevated to the Supreme Court, following which the case was referred to the current bench.

Tamil Nadu’s local body election was supposed to take place in October 2016, but was stalled by the Madras High Court after the DMK questioned the manner in which the entire process was carried out. Immediately after that, the state government began ward delimitation works based on the 2011 census. Due to this delay, Tamil Nadu has been functioning without 200 ward councillors and 12,524 panchayat leaders in the state.

The difficulties of functioning without local-level leaders in the state was evident during the relief operations after Cyclone Gaja in November 2018. The absence of local body leaders was felt by people in the affected areas when relief works were on in full swing and a lot of people struggled to get the benefits.