Tamil Nadu rural local body polls: Madras High Court holds special late-night sitting:

[1/3, 07:25] Sekarreporter: Tamil Nadu rural local body polls: Madras High Court holds special late-night sitting: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tamil-nadu-rural-local-body-polls-madras-high-court-holds-special-late-night-sitting/article30464909.ece
[1/3, 07:25] Sekarreporter: SEC told to file detailed affidavit
Justice M. Sathyanarayanan of the Madras High Court on Thursday presided over a special two-hour sitting between 8.45 pm and 10.45 pm to hear a writ petition filed by R.S. Bharathi of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam alleging irregularities in the ongoing counting process of rural local body polls and directed the Tamil Nadu State Election Commission (TNSEC) to file a detailed affidavit on Friday regarding the procedures followed by it.
The judge ordered that the affidavit should explain the counting process in detail, besides listing the number of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras being used to record the entire counting process, the number of requests received for recounting of votes, the number of local bodies for which recounting of votes was done, the number of local bodies where the requests for recounting was rejected and such other details.
[1/3, 07:25] Sekarreporter: Favouring AIADMK
The interim order was passed after senior counsel P. Wilson, representing the writ petitioner, met Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi after the completion of the court hours and obtained permission to move the case urgently, since there was an apprehension of large-scale irregularities in favour of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in the counting process during the intervening night between Thursday and Friday.
He claimed that Returning Officers of several districts had not declared the results of local bodies across the State despite the completion of the counting process and feared that it could lead to irregularities in the marathon counting process that began on Thursday and expected to continue overnight due to use of ballot papers for various posts. He insisted declaration of the results of all local bodies where the counting had been completed.
Three-tier security
In reply, senior counsel AR.L. Sundaresan, appearing for the TNSEC, refuted all allegations and assured the court that the purity of the election process was being maintained. He said the entire counting process was being recorded using CCTV cameras and that a three-tier police security had been created around the counting centres. As many as 30,554 police personnel had been deployed for security purpose, he added.
Stating that the delay in counting was due to use of ballot papers of different colours for different posts, the senior counsel said that there were also requests in many places for recounting and they were being considered in accordance with law. Mr. Sundaresan also stated that results could not be declared hastily without following all statutory procedures. Therefore, it was wrong on the part of DMK to allege irregularities.
The court was further told that DMK president M.K. Stalin met the State Election Commissioner in person and complained about results of local bodies being delayed in Salem district. “Immediately, the Commissioner phoned up the District Collector concerned in the presence of the party president and instructed to speed up the process. Therefore, he knows everything. Despite knowing all this, they have chosen to file this case,” he said.

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