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HC declines to stall Tiruvarur bypoll

PTI     January 3, 2019

Chennai, Jan 3 (PTI) The Madras High Court Thursday declined to stall the January 28 Tiruvarur assembly bypoll after the Election Commission clarified that the Tamil Nadu government can go ahead with cyclone relief operations there in consultation with the poll panel. A bench of justices M Sathyanarayanan and P Rajamanickam dismissed the interim prayer for stay by the Cauvery Delta Farmers Association and posted its PIL against the bypoll to February 7. The association, represented by its general secretary V Sathyanarayanan, has filed the PIL seeking to forbear the EC from conducting the byelection to the Tiruvarur assembly seat, contending that it would affect relief work in the region hit by Cyclone Gaja in November. Nominations opened Thursday with the issuance of the notification for the bypoll, necessitated by the death of late DMK president M Karunanidhi in August last year. When the petition came up for hearing, the bench sought to know from the EC's counsel Nirajan Rajagopal whether the election notification would hamper the rehabilitation works for the victims of the cyclone that ravaged Tiruvarur and several other districts. The counsel said the chief secretary after seeking appropriate permission from the EC can carry on the relief operations and there would not be any impediment. Recording the submission, the bench in its order said under Article 324 of the Constitution, the EC had been conferred powers for conduct of elections. Unless it was specifically alleged and substantiated that the poll panel had exercised its powers in a mala fide and arbitrary manner, the election process, once commenced, cannot be stalled, it said. In the considered opinion of this court, no case had been made out for grant of interim orders, it said, dismissing the miscellaneous petition seeking a stay on the notification for the poll. The petitioner said with the issuance of the gazette notification, the model code of conduct would come into force. "There will be a number of restrictions. As a result, people in Thiruvarur constituency will not be able to get the benefit of the ongoing relief work and celebrate Pongal festival (falling on January 15) in a free manner," he said praying that the poll be postponed. PTI CORR VS ANB ANB

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