Other States

SC stays Calcutta High Court order on West Bengal panchayat polls

The apex court said the High Court’s direction and the fact that 34% of the candidates have won the election unopposed, “are worrying.”

The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the West Bengal State Election Commission (SEC) not to declare without its permission the results of the panchayat polls, where the ruling Trinamool Congress has won 34% or over 16,000 seats uncontested.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud said, “The petitioners [SEC] shall not notify the results in respect of the constituencies where there has been no contest, without the leave of this court.”

The top court, however, asked the State poll panel to go ahead with the local body election as scheduled on May 14 in the remaining seats. “The election process in respect of the constituencies shall be completed in all aspects and the results can be notified as per law,” the Bench said.

Concept of purity

The SEC and its functionaries would see to it that the election was held in “absolute fairness, keeping in view the concept of purity of an election in a democracy,” the Bench remarked.

It further stayed an order of the Calcutta High Court asking the SEC to accept nomination papers for the panchayat polls filed by the contesting candidates through e-mail.

On May 8, the High Court directed the SEC to accept the nominations of all candidates who had submitted their candidature electronically on a plea by the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Both the CPI(M) and the BJP filed caveat before the Supreme Court, seeking to be heard before any order is passed on the issue.

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, representing the SEC, opposed the High Court order saying as per rules the returning officers are required to scrutinise the nomination papers after the candidates file the documents before them.

Senior advocate P.S. Patwalia, appearing for the BJP, contended that about 34% of the total panchayat seats have been won unopposed by candidates of one party.

The CPI(M) claimed that many of its candidates were prevented from filing nominations and hence sent their documents to the SEC through e-mail.

The Bench posted the case to July 3.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 4:25:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/sc-stays-calcutta-high-court-order-on-west-bengal-panchayat-polls/article23837230.ece

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