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Apex court stops Upper House poll in Tamil Nadu

Apex court stops Upper House poll in Tamil Nadu

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Election Commission not to hold Tamil Nadu Legislative Council elections till it decides a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the presidential notification for delimitation of Upper House constituencies.

A bench of justices J.M. Panchal and H.L. Gokhale clarified that there will be no election for the legislative council till it disposes of the petitions on the issue of delimitation of the seats pending before it.

The court was hearing the petitions filed by BJP and certain individuals—M. Bharathiar and Tindivanam K. Ramamurthee—challenging the Madras high court order which had refused to interfere in the notification saying it was legal and valid.

The court had on 17 January asked the Centre, the state government and the Election Commission to file their responses.

However, some parties wanted the matter to be deferred.

The bench, during the earlier hearing, also had made it clear that any step taken by the state government on the delimitation issue would be subject to the final outcome of the petitions.

“It is clarified that any step taken by the government shall be subject to the final outcome of the petitions," the court had said.

Challenging the high court’s order, the BJP pleaded that the presidential order was unconstitutional and in contravention of the Representation of the People Act.

“The delimitation order contravened the RP Act. The same was ineffective as it had been issued without prior approval of Parliament," senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the petitioner, said.

The Madras high court had held that the presidential order had been made under Section 3(3)of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Council Act which did not provide for placing it before Parliament.

The presidential notification was issued on 30 September, last year for the proposed legislative council elections.

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