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Bench rejects EC reply on Madurai LS poll
“We are not convinced with the State Election Commission’s (SEC) stand that there is no possibility of change in the election date either for Tamil Nadu or in some of the constituencies in Southern Districts owing to Chithirai festival celebration,” the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court observed on Thursday.
Directing the SEC to file a counter affidavit on the queries raised by it based on the apprehension raised in the PIL, a division bench comprising Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice SS Sundar said, “If the counter affidavit is not filed on Friday (March 15), let the Chief Electoral Officer and Secretary to Government, Public (Elections III), Department appear before this court on that day.”
Recording the official submission to SEC that with the assistance of additional security personnel from Central Armed Police Force, elections could be held on April 18, the bench said, “The basic concern which the court expressed about the possibility of securing higher percentage of voter turnout on the election date has neither been responded nor considered by the EC and the District administration.”
“The Commissioner of Police (CoP) also stated that in the four streets, where the two big cars would traverse, about 59 polling stations are situated. Moreover, up to 200 m from the polling stations, none except the voters would be allowed. When these polling stations are on the car route, it is not known how the election could be conducted on April 18,” the bench said.
It also recorded the submission by the District Collector and the CoP respectively that Madurai will witness an influx and exit of around 2 lakh people on April 18 and around three lakh devotees from across TN are likely to visit Madurai between April 17 and 19 for the festival.