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Bengal civic polls | Calcutta High Court puts off hearing on BJP plea

Calcutta High Court.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The legal bottlenecks regarding holding polls to 112 civic bodies in West Bengal continue with the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday postponing the hearing of a petition by Bharatiya Janata Party to November 29.

A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice R. Bharadwaj, said it would hear the petition next Monday.

The BJP has approached the court seeking that polls to all municipalities in West Bengal be held on a single day. The Trinamool Congress and the State Government are of the opinion that election to the Calcutta Municipal Corporation and Howrah Municipal Corporation should be held on December 19 and that of other civic bodies later. The State Government has recently passed a Bill in the West Bengal Assembly for bifurcation of Howrah Muncipal Corporation.

Meanwhile, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Wednesday sought further details for consideration of Howrah Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 under Article 200 of the Constitution. The Bill aims to bifurcate the wards of Howrah and Bally towns into two civic bodies. Mr. Dhankhar had earlier sought details of the Assembly proceedings and other issues relating to passing of the Bill. On Wednesday, the Governor rejected the arguments and deliberations presented by the State government and sought more details.

Governor meets SEC

This comes a day after Mr. Dhankhar met State Election Commissioner Sourav Das and wrote a letter underlining the need to hold polls on a single day.

The Governor in his letter to Mr. Das said, “If the SEC were to toe the line of State Government and be merely its executing agency, treating itself as an extension of the State government, then the same would be an outrage of Constitution and also unwholesome for democratic process.”

The Governor emphasised that SEC itself had mooted the idea of simultaneous elections to all the municipalities earlier. “The overwhelming political inputs are for the same. There does not appear to be any rationale for any deviation thereof,” the letter added.

He also added that the authority of the SEC was at par with the Election Commission of India, it should be non-partisan and not an extension of the State Government.

The five-year term of the elected members of 112 municipalities and corporations ended almost two years back but elections have not been held so far.

These civic bodies are being run by administrators appointed by the State government.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2022 8:18:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/civic-polls-hc-puts-off-hearing-on-bjp-plea/article37672888.ece

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