SC reserves verdict on e-nomination in Bengal panchayat polls

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New Delhi, Aug 20 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its order on a plea by the West Bengal State Election Commission challenging the Calcutta High Court order allowing e-nominations for the panchayat elections in the state, as the apex court once again declined to lift its stay on the notification of results of candidates elected unopposed to rural local bodies.

The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud declined to lift its order barring the notification of the candidates elected unopposed, even as senior counsel Vikas Singh appearing for the state said that it was hampering the release of funds to rural local bodies.

Not accepting the plea of the state government, the Chief Justice Misra said that they would pronounce the order with a week or so.

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The top court had ordered the State Election Commission (SEC) on May 10 not to notify the results of candidates declared elected unopposed.

Pointing to over 20,000 uncontested seats going to the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), senior counsel P.S. Patwalia told the court that such a large under of seats went uncontested because of obstruction by the ruling party members.

Appearing for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), senior counsel Patwalia pointed to large-scale violence and irregularities in the conduct of the election.

In his rejoinder arguments, senior counsel Vikas Singh said that the allegation being made by the BJP and others are general and not specific. He sought to draw distinction between violence and seats going uncontested.

Referring to the Uttar Pradesh and Haryana which have much large uncontested victors — more than 50 per cent — in rural local bodies elections, Vikas Singh said “if merely a seat goes uncontested”, it does not become wrong.

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The court is hearing an SEC plea against the Calcutta High Court’s May 8 order permitting e-nominations and reading the provision of the Information Technology Act into the Representation of the People Act, 1954.

On July 3, the apex court had said that it would examine whether the high court, in exercise of its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution, could do so.

–IANS

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