Saturday, June 22, 2024

Calcutta HC rejects NHRC’s proposal to appoint observer for panchayat polls

The Calcutta High Court on Friday rejected a proposal from the National Human Right Commission (NHRC) to appoint an independent observer for the July 8 panchayat polls in West Bengal.

The NHRC had taken suo motu cognizance of the incidents of violence during the nomination phase and decided to depute the Commission’s Director General (Investigation), Damodar Sarangias as the observer.

However, the West Bengal State Election Commission (WBSEC) opposed the move and approached the Calcutta High Court with a petition.

On Friday, the hearing in the matter was concluded and the single-judge bench of Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya ruled that the NHRC cannot depute an independent observer.

It also observed that the NHRC-appointed observer also has no right to identify the sensitive pockets in the state as desired by the Commission.

Several cases have been filed against various decisions of the WBSEC since the election dates were announced on June 8.

While the prior court orders either from the Calcutta High Court or from the Supreme Court have gone against the WBSEC, this is for the time that a court order has gone in favour of it.

On June 11, the NHRC had announced the appointment of Sarangi as the independent observer and a communication was forwarded to the WBSEC and the state secretariat the same day.

The NHRC took suo motu cognizance of the reports of violence during the nomination phase.

Counting will take place on July 11.

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