Chennai, Jul 7 (PTI) The Madras High Court today asked a former chief of Tamil Nadu poll panel and five IAS officers to explain as to why contempt proceedings should not be launched against them for not holding local body elections within the court-mandated time frame. Also Read - Tamil Nadu Election 2021: DMK-Congress Finalise Seat-sharing Pact. Congress Given 25 Seats, to Fight Kanyakumari By-poll

The court sought the explanations from former State Election Commission Chairman P Seetharaman, SEC Secretary T S Rajasekhar, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department’s Principal Secretary Hans Raj Varma, Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department’s Principal Secretary K Phanindra Reddy and Town Panchayats K Maharabushanam and Chennai Corporation Commissioner D Karthikeyan. Also Read - AIADMK Seals Poll Deal With BJP For Tamil Nadu Election, Allots Kanyakumari LS Seat, 20 MLA Segments

The court issued notices on a contempt of court plea by DMK and posted the matter for further hearing after four weeks. Also Read - Unable to Break Open ATM, Robbers Steal The Whole Machine in Tamil Nadu's Tiruppur

The DMK had contended that the SEC had failed to conduct the local body elections within the time frame fixed by the court and as per its undertaking that it would conduct the elections as directed by the court earlier.

On February 22, a division bench of the court had directed the SEC to conduct the local body polls by May 14.

The commission had also been directed to implement an earlier order of a single-judge bench, making it mandatory for candidates to file affidavits detailing their criminal antecedents, if any, and their uploading the SEC website.

The interim order was passed on an appeal by the SEC against a single judge order dated October 4, 2016, cancelling the election notification dated September 26, 2016, citing non-compliance with the Tamil Nadu Panchayat (Elections) Rules, 1995.

As a consequence, the elections scheduled for October 2016 stood cancelled.

Now, alleging that the SEC and other authorities responsible for conducting elections to the local bodies had wilfully failed to comply with the court order and complete the elections by May 14, the DMK wanted the court to initiate contempt proceedings against the authorities concerned.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.