Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Thursday directed the State Election Commission to conduct elections to local bodies without putting forward any excuse to enable them assume charge on November 1 this year.
In an interim order, the High Court bench, comprising Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice AM Shafique, said that by the 73rd and 74th amendment of the Constitution, formation of local bodies is the duty of State Election Commission.
The Bench said it is a statutory duty of SEC to conduct elections in time without giving any excuse.
It refused to stay the order of the single judge setting aside formation of 69 new panchayats and constitution of four municipalities by carving out areas from various villages and municipal corporations.
The HC observed that there are two more months available to SEC to take all necessary steps for conducting elections to local bodies.
However, it did not express any opinion on the submission of State Election Commission that it can conduct elections on the basis of delimitation of 2010.
The High Court said that it is the constitutional obligation of the Election Commission to conduct polls to panchayats and municipalities within the time prescribed.
SEC is free to take appropriate decision and measures for conducting polls to local bodies taking into consideration the factual situation as on date, the High Court said.
The HC also asked Kerala government to extend all necessary assistance to SEC to conduct the elections before the expiry of the tenure of existing committees.
With regard to 28 newly-constituted municipalities, State Election Commission can take appropriate decision, the HC said.
The interim order was issued after hearing a plea by the government to stay a single judge's verdict quashing a government notification forming as many as 69 new gram panchayats and also setting aside another G.O., delinking certain wards from Thiruvathanapuram and Kozhikode Corporation to form new municipalities.
The case will be further considered on September 3.