Date of hearing on PIL on Bengal panchayat polls postponed

The date of hearing on the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari in Calcutta High Court seeking deployment of central armed forces for the forthcoming polls for the three-tier panchayat system in West Bengal scheduled next year was postponed on Tuesday.

The division bench of Calcutta High Court’s Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj, listed the matter for hearing on Wednesday (December 14).

Adhikari had filed the PIL on Monday.

On Tuesday, when the matter came up for hearing, the counsel for West Bengal State Election Commission (WBSEC) challenged the PIL and appealed to the court not to issue any interim order in the matter considering that the dates for the rural civic body polls are yet to be announced.

However, the matter could not be proceeded further since Suvendu Adhikari’s counsel was absent.

The bench was informed that the counsel for Adhikari could not be present in the court because of his illness.

Thereafter, the bench decided to hear the matter on Wednesday.

While the state election commission is the supervising and conducting authority for the panchayat polls, the commission generally relies on the state police forces for maintaining security on the polling and counting days.

However, the exceptions were in the 2013 West Bengal panchayat polls, when the-then state election commissioner, Meera Pande, ensured deployment of some battalions of central armed forces and for that purpose the state election commission office then had to engage into a series of legal battles with the state government.

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