SEC date for Bengal panchayat poll not final: Calcutta HC

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Kolkata | Published: May 1, 2018 6:49:36 PM

The Calcutta High Court today said that the State Election Commission's decision to hold the West Bengal rural polls on May 14 can be considered as a tentative date only and not the final one.

west bengal panchayat election, west bengal, panchayat elections, calcutta high courtJustice Talukdar directed the SEC to place details on security arrangements for the elections before the division bench. (IE)

The Calcutta High Court today said that the State Election Commission’s decision to hold the West Bengal rural polls on May 14 can be considered as a tentative date only and not the final one.

The final decision on the election date will be considered by a division bench headed by the chief justice of the high court, Justice Subrata Talukdar said passing the direction on petitions by political parties challenging the SEC’s decision to hold the panchayat poll on a single day.

Opposition BJP, CPI(M) and PDS had moved the court of Justice Talukdar claiming that his earlier directions on announcing the date/dates for elections were also not complied with by the commission with regard to prior consultations with stakeholders.

They also claimed that the commission, which had earlier announced the date for elections in three phases, has now notified that it would be done in only one phase thus raising issues of voters’ as well as candidates’ security.

Justice Talukdar directed the SEC to place details on security arrangements for the elections before the division bench, which is scheduled to hear such matters on May 4.

He had earlier too directed the SEC to submit a detailed report on security arrangements before the division bench.

The commission claimed before the court that it had acted on directions of the court by first announcing the date for the extension of nomination which was followed by the announcement of the date for election.

Following petitions by opposition parties, Justice Talukdar had on April 20 quashed the commission’s order cancelling the extension of the date for filing nominations as issued by it on April 10.

The court had directed the commission to issue a fresh notification extending the date for filing nominations upon consultation with the state and the major collective stake holders.

Justice Talukdar had directed the commission to then reschedule the further dates in the election process as per statutory framework and to then carry forward the electoral process from the extended date of filing of nominations.

The SEC had on April 21 issued a notification allowing the filing of nomination on April 23 and also notified the dates for scrutiny and withdrawal of nomination.

The commission in another notification on April 28 announced the date for election to be on May 14.

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