Chennai: The State Election Commission (SEC) of Tamil Nadu has submitted to the Madras high court, after two years, that it will issue a notification for the local body elections on or before May 31.

The counsel for the commission made a submission before the division bench of Justice M Sathyanarayanan and Justice M Sundar on a contempt plea moved by DMK organising secretary RS Bharathi.

The court was informed that ward delimitation works as per the 2011 census have been completed and would notify the local body elections by May 31.

In September 2017, the then Chief Justice of the Madras high court, Indira Banerjee, had ordered the SEC to complete the election to local bodies by November 2017. However, the SEC did not comply with that order, due to which the DMK filed a contempt of court petition in the Madras high court.

The SEC challenged the contempt plea, which the court has been hearing for the past year. When the case was about to conclude, Justice Indira Banerjee was elevated to the Supreme Court, following which the case was referred to the current bench.

The local body election in Tamil Nadu was supposed to take place in October 2016. However, this was stalled by the Madras high court after the DMK questioned the manner in which the process was carried out.

Immediately after that, the state government began ward delimitation works based on the 2011 census. Due to this delay, Tamil Nadu has been functioning without 200 ward councillors and 12,524 panchayat leaders in the state.

The difficulties of functioning without local-level leaders in the state was evident during the relief operations after Cyclone Gaja in November 2018. The absence of local body leaders was felt by people in the affected areas when relief works were on in full swing and a lot of people struggled to get the benefits.