Madras HC asks TN poll panel to reply on AIADMK's plea on rural polls




The Madras High Court on Friday directed the Tamil Nadu State Election Commission to respond to a plea of the principal opposition party, AIADMK, regarding the conduct of rural local body polls and security aspects.

The rural local body polls are to be held at Kancheepuram, Chengalpattu, Tenkasi, Kallakurichi, Ranipet, Vellore, Tiruppathur, Villupuram, and Tirunelveli districts on October 6 and October 9.

The first bench of the Madras High Court comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D. Audikesavalu directed the TNSEC to respond to the requests of the AIADMK regarding posting of Central and State Observers, deployment of Central Security Forces, and for the electronic surveillance of the poll process for ensuring free and fair elections to the rural local bodies.

The court, while admitting a petition filed on September 14 by the AIADMK's election wing deputy secretary IS Inbadurai, directed the State Election Commission (SEC) to respond to the petition within one week.

The bench observed: "The SEC must respond to the petition by the Principal Opposition party, AIADMK on September 14 within one week from today."

The bench also called upon the State Election Commission to ensure a free and fair poll. The first bench said, "We want you (SEC) to ensure a free and fair poll where the people have the right to exercise their choice and that choice has to be respected."

Senior Counsel, Vijay Narayanan appearing for the AIADMK, stressed that at least one observer per panchayat must be nominated and that they must be drawn from the government services, either Central or State government.

The AIADMK counsel also wanted Central security forces to be deployed to guard the strong rooms where the ballots are kept after casting the votes. He also argued for electronic surveillance of the booths and election process using CCTV cameras and webcameras.

The advocate representing the principal opposition party also submitted before the court that the State Election Commission has not responded to the petition of the AIADMK filed on September 14.

The first bench of the Madras High Court directed the SEC to file a reply by September 29 and the matter was posted for September 30 - IANS

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