The First Bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M Sathyanarayanan, had on August 5 directed counsels for various departments, including the Secretary, Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department, to get instructions on the petition and posted the matter for Monday.

After hearing the counsel for various departments on Monday, the bench adjourned the case to 10th September.

In his PIL, advocate K Kartikeyan alleged that the notification is violative of Tamil Nadu Town Panchayats, Third Grade Municipalities and Corporations/Election Rules 2006, as per which the notification of program of election to be published in the government gazette should contain the date of publication of the public notice of election.

He submitted that the rules specify that the notification date and publication date should be different, whereas it was not so in the present case.

Karthikeyan contended that the government first announced the date of commencement of by-election process on 6th August in which the election date was mentioned as 18th September. However the poll process commencing date was postponed to 28th August.

Here too, the election date was not changed and was mentioned as 18th September.

Karthikeyan submitted the short 27-day duration would not provide sufficient time for candidates for election campaign and that the time schedule was grossly reduced without any reason.

It would ‘hamper the rights of candidates’, particularly those from unrecognized political parties and independents, who cannot afford to campaign in a big way to reach the public or convey their agenda or poll promises.

Karthikeyan submitted that it is a settled law that reasonable time be granted for election campaign to all contestants for conducting the poll in a fair manner.

He contended that it is illegal to provide a short span of time for the date of polling from the date of commencement of elections and sought an interim direction to stay operation of the notification.

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