World

Calcutta HC stays West Bengal panchayat poll process till further orders

Calcutta HC stays West Bengal panchayat poll process till further orders

Kolkata: Displeased with the State Election Commission's (SEC) decision to cancel its own order to extend the nomination process by a day, the Calcutta high court today stayed the ongoing panchayat election process in West Bengal till further orders.

Opposition parties had alleged they were not being allowed to file nominations.

Talukdar also sought from the SEC by Monday a comprehensive status report on the poll process, detailing the number of nominations filed and the percentage of those rejected, among other information.

The court's order - unprecedented in the history of the rural elections that started in the state in 1978 - came after the BJP approached it, alleging violence by the Trinamool Congress since April 2, when filing of nominations began. The BJP had moved apex court on Tuesday against State Election Commission's decision to revoke the order that extended nomination dates for Panchayat elections till April 10. "This high court ruling is a triumph of democracy over dictatorship", Vijayvergiya told reporters. However, the Left Front has called a six-hour bandh on April 13 to protest against TMC violence across the state during filing of nominations for panchayat elections in the state. But on Tuesday morning, the commission revoked the notification after the state government and the Trinamool Congress raised questions about its legal validity.

Elections to the three-tier local body structure - zilla parishads, panchayat samitis, and gram panchayats - are scheduled for May 1, 3 and 5. The state BJP had moved the Supreme Court against the rollback, which refused to intervene and asked the BJP to approach the Calcutta High Court instead.

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Justice Talukdar had on April 10 stayed the withdrawal of SEC's April 9 notification, directing the Commission to treat its order of cancellation as kept in abeyance.

Justice Talukdar observed that this court must hold a very dim view of the conduct of the BJP representative appearing in person. "We will move against this", Banerjee said.BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha said, adding that his party will legally contest the fine.

Congress chief in West Bengal Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said his party had not prayed for stalling of the election.

"We will not comment on the court order".


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