The Madras High Court on Wednesday made it clear that its powers to interfere in election issues were very limited. Therefore, it would not be able to prevent Election Commission of India (ECI) from going ahead with its decision to conduct the byelection to Tiruvarur Assembly constituency on January 28.
Rejecting a plea to move a lunch motion, a Division Bench of Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and P. Rajamanickam told advocate N.G.R. Prasad that it would hear the case only in the regular course and even then it would not grant any interim order preventing the ECI from conducting the bypoll as prayed for by him.
“You know our powers. We are telling you right now that we shall not stay the election notification. You say that elections would hamper Cyclone Gaja relief works, but the Election Commission, a constitutional body, says the situation is conducive for conduct of election. What can we do,” the senior judge in the Bench said.
Later, in the day, a writ petition was filed in the High Court Registry by V. Sathyanarayanan, 57, general secretary of Cauvery Delta Farmers Consortium, an unregistered association, to forbear the EC from conducting the bypoll on January 28, as announced on December 31.
Asserting that he was not affiliated to any political party, the petitioner claimed that people of Tiruvarur constituency would not only be denied of the cyclone relief, but also the joy of celebrating Pongal festival if the model code of conduct came into force and the election notification was allowed to be published in the gazette on Thursday.