Interim stay on Pondy election extended


PTI, Oct 21, 2021, 8:44 PM IST

Chennai: The Madras High Court on Thursday extended by a week, the operation of its earlier order which directed the Puducherry government and the State Election Commission to keep in abeyance all further proceedings in the matter of conducting civic polls in the Union Territory.

The first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P D Audikesavalu extended the operation of the earlier order, when the PILs from the Muthialpet independent MLA J Pregesh Kumar, DMK MLA R Siva and another person came up again, today.

The PILs sought to quash a government order (GO) dated October 6 of the Local Administration Secretariat in Puducherry and the consequential notifications issued by the State Election Commission, on October 7.

Petitioners had contended that by virtue of the impugned notifications passed by the authorities on October 6 and 7, the reservation meant for backward classes and scheduled tribes to contest in the five Municipalities and 10 Commune Panchayats in the Union Territory of Puducherry, had been completely taken away.

The extension granted by the first bench today follows a submission from the counsel for the Puducherry government and SEC that they need more time to prepare the revised election schedule after identifying wards for candidates belonging to backward classes and scheduled tribes.

Earlier, a division bench of Justices R Mahadevan and Abdul Quddhose, at a special sitting on October 11, had passed the interim order.

The special bench had then observed that the impugned orders dated October 6 and 7, announcing the revised schedule for elections next month were not in consonance with Section 9 (8) and 11 (8) of the Puducherry Municipalities Act and the Puducherry Village and Commune Panchayats Act, as well as the constitutional mandate contained under Article 243-O of the Constitution.

The bench had then also noted that the SEC was directed to rectify the anomalies in the notifications providing for reservation to backward classes and scheduled tribe communities. But there was nothing in the orders to indicate that they were issued after a consultative process with the elected representatives.

In fact, after the orders had been passed, all the elected representatives of the Puducherry Union Territory had given a joint representation on October 9 to conduct the election to the local body only after rectifying the anomalies in the notifications with reference to the reservation of the local body or municipal wards for Scheduled Tribes and backward class based on the existing population. It showed that no consultation was made with the elected representatives before passing the impugned order, the bench had noted and directed the government and the SEC to keep the election process in abeyance.

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