HC dismisses plea against order stalling West Bengal panchayat elections

HC dismisses plea against order stalling West Bengal panchayat elections

Iterating that in a democracy, every election down to the municipality of panchayat level should be held peacefully, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader expressed doubts over whether the state government had the capability to conduct a violence-free poll.

She refused to comment on the court decision, but claimed government work was suffering due to the unwanted delay in the polling process.

A division bench of Calcutta high court on Monday ruled that the single bench of justice Subrata Talukdar will hear the petition regarding the panchayat elections.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist, which had moved the Supreme Court seeking postponement of the election and removal of the SEC but was asked to raise the matter in the High Court, also welcomed the order. "It has said that the single bench will hear the matter now", he said. "We now hope that those who could not file their nominations would be able to do so".

The directive by the bench came after BJP, Left and Congress alleged that the TMC resorted to violence to hinder the filing of nominations by opposition candidates.

Trinamool MP Kalyan Banerjee who appeared for the ruling party said, "The court said it would not interfere in the single bench's order". The appeal in Division Bench has been discarded by the court.

A division bench of Calcutta HC on Monday sent back the plea over conducting Panchayat polls in West Bengal to single bench of the High Court, reports Zee 24 Ghanta. "The TMC was refusing because it knew that the order will not be in their favour". With violence marring much of the pre-poll process, the BJP challenged the state election commission's (SEC's) move to withdraw its April 9 notification extending the nomination deadline by a day.

State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury, who participated in the protest, said the votes will be a farce without central forces.

CPI (M) leader Rabin Deb said, "The division bench rejected the appeals of the Trinamool and state poll panel which challenged the single bench's stay order".

While dismissing the appeal on Monday, the division bench ordered Talukdar to expeditiously hear the matter and even consider the question of whether or not the judiciary should intervene at this stage. On April 12, Justice Talukdar stayed the election process till April 16 and sought a detailed report from the SEC on measures taken to address the Opposition's concerns. The state panchayat polls are scheduled to be held on May 1, 3 and 5.

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