Monday, June 17, 2024

5 days not enough to file nominations for Bengal panchayat polls: Calcutta HC

The Calcutta High Court on Friday observed that just six days time, from June 9 to June 15 with June 11 being a Sunday and hence a holiday, are not enough for filing nominations for the 75,000 seats during the panchayat polls in West Bengal scheduled on July 8.

However, the court has not given its final order on this count and it is likely to be pronounced on Monday after the State Election Commission gives its reply to the court in the matter.

Giving its observations on the petition filed by Congress, the division bench of Chief Justice T.S. Sivagnanam and Justice Hirnamay Bhattacharya observed that there is a need for reviewing the Commission’s decision for allotting just five days for the purpose of filing nominations.

“State Election Commission is and must act as an independent body. It must be abreast with latest technologies and try using the same to ensure free, fair and violence-free elections,” it said.

It also directed that the entire election process starting from the nomination process should be video-recorded and those video-recording should be stored. The division bench also observed that it seems that the State Election Commission is in some hurry regarding the rural civic body polls.

As regards to the deployment of the central armed forces personnel for the polls, it directed the state government to clarify that it has enough strength of security forces to ensure free, fair and violence-free elections.

On Thursday, despite being vague on the deployment of central armed forces, the newly-appointed State Election Commissioner, Rajiva Sinha, said that everyone should have faith in the state government which is capable of conducting free and fair elections.

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