The road ahead for Bengal after Calcutta HC suspends panchayat poll process

Image used for representational purpose

Image used for representational purpose

The Kolkata High Court has asked the state Election Commission to put all procedures for West Bengal panchayat elections on hold till April 16. The petition was filed against the SEC's decision to recall its order of extending the deadline for filing nominations for the Panchayat polls by a day. On 6th March, BJP had told the court that democracy was being stifled in West Bengal.by the ruling Trinamool Congress.

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When a bench of Justices R K Agrawal and A M Sapre was dictating its order, senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for state poll panel, said it may also record in the order that the Calcutta High Court should not draw any inference from it.

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The same evening, the state election commission extended the deadline for filing nominations till 3pm the next day, in light of the disruptions and violence that certain candidates faced while filing their nominations.

Staying the election process, Justice Subrata Talukdar of the Calcutta High Court sought from the State Election Commission (SEC) by April 16 a comprehensive status report on the poll process, detailing the number of nominations filed and the percentage of nominations rejected, amongst other information.

He said the top court should not entertain this interlocutory application as on a similar petition, Calcutta High Court has passed the order. The Panchayat general elections 2018 in 20 districts of West Bengal is scheduled to take place in three phases in May 2018.

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BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who is in the city to participate in a sit-in demonstration to protest against the alleged violence, said the judgment was a blow to the ruling TMC. "This high court ruling is a triumph of democracy over dictatorship", he told reporters.

Trinamool leader, Saifur Rehman, anchal sabhapati of Folti Beliaghata gram panchayat had called for a victory rally in North 24 Parganas around 4 pm on Wednesday.

To this, the bench asked "why should we record that in the order?"

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