The Supreme Court on Friday decided to put on hold local body elections in nine districts of Tamil Nadu so that legal formalities such as delimitation can be completed in four months. On Monday, the state Election Commission had announced that local body polls would be held on December 27 and December 30.

The Opposition party in the state, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, had filed a plea seeking a direction to the Election Commission to carry out the delimitation exercise in newly created districts in Tamil Nadu before conducting panchayat and local body elections. The party also sought a decision on reservations for marginalised communities and women in these districts.

Earlier this year, five new districts were created in Tamil Nadu. Tenkasi was carved out of Tirunelveli, Kallakurichi from Villupuram, Tirupattur and Ranipet districts from Vellore, and Chengalpattu from Kanchipuram. The top court put on hold elections in all nine districts – the five new ones and the four original ones.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde considered the state government’s submission that it was willing to put the elections on hold in the nine districts. The bench directed the Tamil Nadu State Election Commission to conduct the delimitation exercise in four months.

The local body elections in the state have not been held since 2016.