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Pleas against Presidential notification dismissed

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Thursday dismissed a batch of writ petitions challenging a Presidential notification dated September 30 — ‘Delimitation of Council Constituencies (Tamil Nadu) Order 2010' — for the proposed Legislative Council elections.

In their petitions, K. Sridhar Kumar and 12 others prayed the court to strike down the Presidential order as unconstitutional, null and void. In one petition, a prayer was made to amend the delimitation notification to include middle schools located in the State so as to enable secondary grade teachers working in them become eligible to vote.

The petitioners contended that the Delimitation Order contravened the Representation of the People (RP) Act. The same was ineffective as it had been issued without prior approval of Parliament.

In its order, the First Bench, comprising Chief Justice M.Y. Eqbal and Justice T.S. Sivagnanam, said the Presidential order had been made under Section 3 (3) of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Council (TNLC) Act and not under Sections 10 and 11 of the RP Act, 1950. As the TNLC Act did not provide for placing the order before Parliament, the same did not suffer from an illegality or unconstitutionality.

As the TNLC Act, being a law relating to delimitation of constituencies, was made under Article 327 (Power of Parliament to make provision with respect to elections to Legislatures) of the Constitution, the same could not be questioned in a petition under Article 226 (Power of High Court to issue certain writs) as there was a clear bar under the Constitution.

The TNLC Act was a law enacted by Parliament for creation of a Legislative Council in Tamil Nadu under Article 169 (Abolition or creation of Legislative Councils in States) of the Constitution and not revival thereof.

In view of the three-tier system brought about by the 1994 amendment to the Tamil Nadu Panchayat Act, Section 4 of the TNLC Act was not violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.

The Bench said that in view of the mandate in Article 171 (3) (c) (Composition of the Legislative Councils) of the Constitution which stated that 1/12 {+t} {+h} should be elected by electorate consisting of persons who had been for at least three years engaged in teaching in educational institutions not lower in Standard than that of secondary school, the question of including middle-school teachers as part of the electorate to the Teachers Constituencies did not arise.

The Judges held that the Election Commission's action was neither illegal nor unconstitutional. The petitioners had not made out a case for interference. The writ petitions were not maintainable.

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