Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
News Updates

BJP's Plea Seeking Deployment Of Central Forces In WB Municipal Elections: Calcutta HC Adjourns Hearing To March 11 On State Gov's Request

Aaratrika Bhaumik
7 March 2022 6:03 AM GMT
BJPs Plea Seeking Deployment Of Central Forces In WB Municipal Elections: Calcutta HC Adjourns Hearing To March 11 On State Govs Request
x

The Calcutta High Court on Monday adjourned the hearing of the plea moved by Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) seeking the deployment of central forces during the recently held elections to the 108 municipalities of the State on the ground that large scale violence had taken place during the elections to the four municipal corporations – Siliguri, Bidhannagar, Asansol and Chandernagore which...

The Calcutta High Court on Monday adjourned the hearing of the plea moved by Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) seeking the deployment of central forces during the recently held elections to the 108 municipalities of the State on the ground that large scale violence had taken place during the elections to the four municipal corporations – Siliguri, Bidhannagar, Asansol and Chandernagore which took place on February 12.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj had earlier declined to entertain the plea for deployment of central forces and had instead directed the State Election Commission (SEC) to collect information in respect of the conditions prevailing in each of the Municipalities where the elections are scheduled and hold a joint meeting with the Home Secretary of the State and the Director General and Inspector General of the Police within 24 hours. The SEC had also been directed to examine the ground situation of each of the 108 Municipalities and take a decision in writing with respect to the deployment of central paramilitary forces.

Opining that the State Election Commissioner will be personally liable if violence takes place, the Bench had further ruled, "If the Commissioner, State Election Commission takes the decision not to deploy the paramilitary forces, then he will be personally liable to ensure no violence takes place and free, fair and fearless elections take place in the municipality where paramilitary forces are not"

Subsequently, the SEC had decided to not deploy central paramilitary forces during the civic polls. A Division Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Surya Kant had also dismissed the special leave petition filed against this decision of the Division Bench to not order for the deployment of central forces for the elections to 108 municipalities. 

The matter had been listed for hearing on Monday in order to take on record the various compliance reports pursuant to the earlier directions of the Court. However, the Bench was informed by the State counsel that Advocate General S.N Mookherjee is unavailable to appear before the Court due to some personal difficulty and accordingly a short adjournment was sought. 

Granting the plea for an adjournment, the Division Bench adjourned the hearing of the matter to March 11

It may be noted that the Court is also scheduled to hear on March 11 in another petition moved by the BJP leader Soumendu Adhikari alleging that large scale violence and rigging of votes had taken place in the recently concluded Contai Municipality elections. Elections to 108 municipalities in the State including the Contai municipality took place on February 27.

The Division Bench last week had refused to grant the prayer made by the BJP seeking a stay on the counting of votes pertaining to the Contai Municipality elections which took place on March 2. The Court had noted that since the allegations levelled by the BJP are yet to be responded to by the SEC and the State government and further considering the relevant Constitutional provisions, such a prayer seeking a stay on counting of votes cannot be entertained.

It had been further underscored that any action taken in the meantime will be subject to the final outcome of this writ petition. Furthermore, the Court also directed the SEC to take adequate steps to preserve CCTV cameras and CCTV footage pertaining to elections of the Contai municipality.

Pertinently, the Court had allowed the BJP to implead the Election Commission of India (ECI) as a party to the instant proceedings since a prayer has been made by the BJP seeking forensic audit of CCTV footage by the ECI in its capacity as an independent investigating agency in order to rule out any case of tampering.

Case Title: Pratap Banerjee v. State of West Bengal and other connected matters

Next Story