New Delhi: A petition was filed in Supreme Court today, seeking the release of funds for local bodies in Tamil Nadu due from 2016 to date. The state’s official counsel, Advocate C.R. Jaya Sukin has filed this in person.
The petitioner’s contention is that local body elections in the state last took place in 2011. From October 24, 2016 all local bodies, such as gram panchayats, corporations, municipalities and town panchayats, have been lying vacant. The plea also said that the Union of India had not released funds due to these local bodies since the year 2016, because the Tamil Nadu State Election Commission has not been able to conduct local body elections for four years.
Petition further states that Article 243E of the Constitution of India states that the term of the elected local bodies extends to five years and an election to constitute the local body should be completed before the expiry of its term. No law or acts prevented the Union of India from releasing funds for the local bodies.
The reason for elections not being held is that the delimitation process has not been completed. The plea says that the process involves a long legal battle with politically motivated interests, and that has prevented the elections from being held.
The petitioner claims that that people in all of Tamil Nadu, urban and rural, have been suffering without basic amenities such as water supply, sanitation, waste management, street lights, health, and various other utilities.
According to the plea the delimitation commission was constituted after 22 years, on
July 22, 2017 for Tamil Nadu, with the state election commissioner as chairman. The state Election Commission had filed an affidavit before the court in W. P. No.1267 of 2018 on July 15, 2019, seeking further time of 60 days to fulfill the statutory obligation as mandated under Article 243K and 243ZA of the Constitution of India.
The Tamil Nadu Election Commission announced the election to the rural local bodies in 27 districts of the state following orders from the Supreme Court, but due to continued lockdowns for elections are pending.
The petitioner has pointed out that the union has not released the local bodies funds in an arbitrary manner.
-India Legal Bureau