Monday, June 17, 2024

Bengal panchayat polls: Suvendu Adhikari files caveat at SC

Apprehending that the West Bengal government and the state election commission may challenge the Calcutta High Court order on the deployment of 82,000 central armed forces personnel in the Supreme Court, the leader of opposition in the state Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari on Thursday filed a caveat at the apex court.

The caveat was filed so that the matter cannot be heard ex-parte. Although there had not been any official indication either from the state government or from the state election commission on the issue of approaching the Supreme Court, the possibilities have erupted as the state commissioner Rajiva Sinha was busy at his office till late Wednesday night discussing with the legal brains.

Meanwhile, the crucial hearing on the contempt of court petition against the state election commission is scheduled at a division bench of Calcutta High Court on Thursday and a verdict on the count is expected on this day only.

On Wednesday, while ordering a minimum deployment of 82,000 central armed forces for the rural civic body polls, the division bench of Calcutta High Court’s Chief Justice T.S. Sivagnanam also observed that the number insisted by the court was on lines of the deployment of central forces personnel in 2013 rural civic body polls ensured by the then state election commission, Meera Pandey.

The court has directed the state election commission to apply to the Union home ministry for 82,000 personnel within 24 hours. On Wednesday, the state election commission gave a requisition to the Union home ministry for the deployment of just 22 companies or just around 2,200 personnel of central armed forces.

On Wednesday, the division bench criticised the state election commission in unprecedented terms and even questioned neutrality of the commission.

“After so many developments, I am bound to say that the question remains on the neutrality of the state election commission. This is most unfortunate that a contempt of court petition has been filed against the state election commissioner. I request to follow the court orders as it is,” 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. “In that case the Governor will appoint someone else for that chair,” Justice Sivagnanam observed.

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