Express News Service
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu State Election Commission (TNSEC) to cover all the processes of the upcoming polls for urban local bodies, starting from filing of nominations to counting of votes, under videography and CCTV surveillance to ensure free and fair polls.
Disposing of a petition filed by AIADMK seeking directions to the state election commission to ensure fair polls, the first bench of Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice PD Audikesavalu issued the orders on Monday.
The bench noted that the state election commission has already issued guidelines and its counsel agreed to cover every stage of the elections — filing of nominations, polling of votes, keeping boxes under safe custody, counting of votes, and declaration of results under videography and CCTV surveillance system.
“In view of the above, no further decision required to be given but to dispose of the petition with the direction to the respondent, TNSEC, to ensure strict compliance of the guidelines issued by it for holding free and fair polls to the (urban) local bodies in Tamil Nadu,” it stated.
“… and for the purpose even to cover the election under CCTV footage, for which, we specifically direct them to cover the nomination under videography followed by polling…,” the bench ordered.
It further noted that the TNSEC has agreed to cover the inside and outside of the strong rooms with videography and finally counting and declaration of results, the order said.
Earlier, appearing for AIADMK, senior counsel Vijay Narayan sought specific directions to the TNSEC to ensure free and fair polls. He wanted the poll authorities to furnish an acknowledgment to the candidates after filing the nomination papers as in the previous polls certain sheets/papers were removed to render it unacceptable.
He also wanted action to ensure no nomination paper is rejected on the request of persons impersonating the candidates without their presence during withdrawal.
Citing certain incidents that occurred in the past elections, including the recent rural local body polls in nine districts, and quoting earlier orders of the court, Vijay Narayan wanted specific orders to be issued to TNSEC.
However, advocate general R Shanmugasundaram and counsel for TNSEC S Shiva Shanmugam contended that the petition was filed on mere apprehensions and there is no basis for it.
The ACJ also queried the AIADMK counsel on what basis he is raising the apprehension over the unfairness of the polls.