Calcutta HC rejects Trinamool’s appeal for fast hearing on Bengal rural polls

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Kolkata, April 13 (IANS) The Calcutta High Court on Friday rejected West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress’ appeal to fast track the hearing of a plea challenging the court’s order to stall the Panchayat election process in the state till April 16.

A division bench of Calcutta High Court said it will hear the case on Monday and asked the State Election Commission (SEC) to first file a petition on the matter and serve notice to all parties involved.

The High Court on Thursday stayed the ongoing Panchayat election process till further orders and asked the SEC to furnish by April 16 a comprehensive status report on the polls.

The bench of Justice Subrata Talukdar also imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on the BJP for misrepresenting facts by moving both the Supreme Court and the high court on the same plea.

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Meanwhile, the SEC on Friday issued a notice asking the officials concerned not to take any steps related to electoral process until further instructions.

“I am to request you not to take any step connected with the electoral process, including training programme till further instruction,” State Election Commissioner A.K. Singh said in an order.

The opposition parties moved to court accusing the ruling Trinamool Congress of unleashing massive pre-poll violence on their party workers over the filing of nominations for the rural polls since the process began on April 2. They also accused the SEC of acting like a puppet of the state ruling party after it withdraw its order of extending the nomination process by a day, within a few hours of issuing it.

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The panchayat elections are scheduled for May 1, 3 and 5, while the counting of votes is due on May 8.

–IANS

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