“Covid A Good Excuse”: Supreme Court Raps Tamil Nadu Election Commission

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Tamil Nadu State Election Commission was today pulled up by the Supreme Court over delay in conducting local polls in nine new districts.

As the court observed that the local elections have not been conducted for nearly two years in these districts, it gave a deadline till September 15, and stressed: “Covid is a good excuse in all matters”.

Senior Advocate PS Narasimha, representing the state poll body, told the court that Covid cases in Tamil Nadu are “the highest in the country and delimitation has to be done in the newly carved out nine districts”. The state has so far logged 24.29 lakh total coronavirus cases and 31,386 deaths. Even as Maharashtra saw a drop in infections, Tamil Nadu had been witnessing a surge earlier this month.

Justice Hemant Gupta, heading a two-judge bench, replied, “Covid is a good excuse in all matters.”

The state election commission said it needed more time “because electronic voting machines will have to brought from the Election Commission, and delimitation has to be done”.

The Supreme Court finally said: “We will give you time till September 15 to complete the election process. It is only nine districts. if not done, we will initiate contempt action against the state poll body.”

The top court later removed the contempt part from its order amid pleas from the election body.

The Supreme Court had allowed local polls in Tamil Nadu in 2019, leaving out nine new districts where delimitation had to be done.

The state voted to elect a new government in April and the DMK’s MK Stalin succeeded the AIADMK’s Edapaddi K. Palaniswami in May as the Chief Minister when the results were declared. Elections were also held in Bengal, Assam, Kerala and Pondicherry and huge poll rallies were linked to surge in infections amid the second Covid wave.

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