A week after being pulled up for failing to implement an order to hold local body elections, the Tamil Nadu State Election Commission told the Madras High Court on Monday that delimitation of local bodies will get completed by August 31.
It added that the schedule for elections will be released within three months after the government accepts the recommendations on the delimitation and reservation of wards.
SEC was given August 6 as a deadline to give the schedule in writing to the court.
The case has been posted for hearing on Tuesday. With Chief Justice Indira Banerjeeâ€™s elevation to Supreme Court, the case has been posted before a new special bench of Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and M Sundar.
On July 31, the Court had observed that the SEC should be declared guilty of contempt for not following its September 4, 2017 order to hold local body polls by November 2017. Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar were hearing a contempt petition filed by DMK when they questioned the governmentâ€™s inaction in not implementing the order when there was no stay from the Supreme Court.
"Do you think that it is up to you to decide to what extent court orders can be implemented?" Chief Justice Indira Banerjee had questioned.
The SEC had then reportedly submitted that it was conducting delimitation process as per 2011 census.
"We have clearly mentioned in the order that the election shall be conducted based on 2001 census. As per your submissions before the Supreme Court, even the present delimitation process should have been completed by January 2018," the bench further added.
The court then directed the SEC counsel to furnish election schedule, for which they sought time. Following this, the bench posted the matter for August 6.
The petition had been filed by RS Bharathi of DMK against State Election Commissioner Malik Feroz Khan and its secretary Rajasekhar. The counsel for the petitioner had pointed out that the non-implementation of the order meant that central funds worth Rs 4,000 crores due to local bodies were unused.
The local body elections that were scheduled for October 2016 had been stalled by the Madras High Court after the Opposition DMK questioned the way the poll process was being carried out.
Back then, the DMK had challenged the polls citing law and order problems, irregularities, inadequate ST reservation and a hurried announcement.