Monday, June 17, 2024

Bengal panchayat polls: HC directs deployment of 82,000 central forces personnel

A division bench of Calcutta High Court’s Chief Justice T.S. Sivagnanam on Wednesday directed the West Bengal State Election Commission and the state government to deploy 82,000 central armed forces personnel for the forthcoming panchayat polls.

According to the division bench the deployment of 82,000 personnel is in the lines of deployment of central forces personnel in 2013 rural civic body polls whihc was ensured by the then State Election Commission Meera Pandey.

The court directed the State Election Commission to apply to the Union Home Ministry for 82,000 personnel deployment. On Wednesday, the State Election Commission submitted a requisition to the Union Home Ministry for deployment of just 22 companies or just around 2,200 personnel of central armed forces.

The division bench also criticised the State Election Commission and questioned the neutrality of the commission.

“After so many developments, I am bound to say that the question remains on the neutrality of the State Election Eommission. It is most unfortunate that a contempt of court petition has been filed against the State Election Commissioner. I request you to follow the court orders,” Justice Sivagnanam observed.

He also advised the State Election Commissioner Rajiva Sinha to quit his chair if he is unable to bear the pressure of his position. “The Governor will appoint someone else for the chair,” Justice Sivagnanam observed.

Quoting High Court’s observations, Trinamool Congress State Spokesman said that the judges seem to be behaving in a blind manner. “The judges are floating those things that are in the minds of the opposition leaders through their observations. Why can’t the judges ask the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to arrest the leader of the opposition Suvendu Adhikari who had been named in the FIR for the Narada video scam?” Ghosh questioned.

Reacting to his comments, CPI(M) Rajya Sabha member and senior advocate of Calcutta High Court Bikas Ranjan Bhattacharya said that no one takes Ghosh’s “comic” statements seriously.

“Probably he is not aware that the judges take any decision after carefully observing all points and studying the arguments of all sides. Probably people like Ghosh are not aware of such things. So there is no need to give importance to what Kunal Ghosh says,” Bhattacharya said.

The leader of the opposition Suvendu Adhikari said that the division bench has rightly criticized the state election commissioner, who had been operating as a puppet of the state government.

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