Kochi: The Kerala High Court Thursday ruled that the State Election Commission can decide on conducting elections to the local bodies.
Rejecting the Kerala government’s plea to extend the dates for conducting the polls, the bench, comprising Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice A M Shafique, said it is the constitutional obligation of the State Election Commission (SEC) to take a decision on conducting polls to local bodies.
It is not necessary or required for the High Court to consider the government's request, it said, adding that the decision has to be taken independently by the SEC.
The Bench said that at this stage it did not find any reason to interfere in this matter.
Earlier, the state government had moved the High Court with an election schedule and sought a direction to enable newly-elected committees take charge on Decemeber 1, 2015.
The SEC also supported the government's stand by submitting a separate affidavit.
However, the bench rejected the prayer of the state, finding that holding of election is the constitutional duty of the EC and observed that "it is not this court to express either way".
Earlier, the Court had 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 had 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 the State Election Commission that it can conduct elections on the basis of delimitation of 2010.
The HC had also said that it is the constitutional obligation of the Election Commission to conduct polls to panchayats and municipalities within the time prescribed.
The SEC is free to take an appropriate decision and measures for conducting polls to local bodies, taking into consideration the factual situation as on date, the High Court had said.
With regard to 28 newly-constituted municipalities, the State Election Commission can take an appropriate decision, the HC had said.