A day after it refused to give a stay on the KMC election, the Calcutta High Court on Thursday also rejected the plea of the Bharatiya Janata Party to deploy central forces for the election on December 19, and said it will be conducted under the watch of the state police only.
Justice Rajasekhar Mantha directed that the Commissioner of Kolkata police will take care of all complaints by candidates or others during the election process.
Dismissing the petition, the Court ordered the Commissioner of Police to ensure that he forthwith attends to any further complaints lodged and takes appropriate measures to safeguard the right of citizens to exercise their franchise.
Advocate General S.N. Mookerjee, appearing for the state, submitted that all the complaints had been attended to and that the state government had held a meeting with the State Election Commission to ensure that the upcoming elections are free of violence.
Further, advocate for the State Election Commission also submitted that all necessary forces will be deployed from the Kolkata Police and if necessary, from the Rapid Action Force (RAF) to ensure fair elections.
In the light of the submissions, Justice Mantha said that the assurances of the Advocate General are sufficient in view of the submissions made by the State Election Commission and dismissed the plea in light of the fact that “The State Election Commission does not see the deployment of Central forces as necessary.”
The BJP then moved a division bench challenging the Single Bench order.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bhardwaj agreed to hear the appeal on December 17 pursuant to the request made by counsel appearing for the BJP. It also directed counsel to file a certified copy of the impugned order and serve it to the opposing parties.
Counsel appearing for the BJP informed the division bench that the party had sought the deployment of Central forces in light of the post-poll violence that had taken place during the Assembly elections back in May 2021. He further apprised the Bench that pursuant to an order of the High Court dated August 19, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had been instructed to investigate cases related to murder, rape and crime against women. The Bench was also informed that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) had been constituted to investigate the other criminal cases related to post- poll violence.