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Calcutta High Court Adjourns Hearing Of BJP Leader's Plea On Holding Municipal Polls In The State To December 1

Aaratrika Bhaumik
29 Nov 2021 9:05 AM GMT
Calcutta High Court Adjourns Hearing Of BJP Leaders Plea On Holding Municipal Polls In The State To December 1
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The Calcutta High Court on Monday adjourned to December 1 the hearing of a petition moved by BJP Sate vice-president Pratap Banerjee seeking direction to the West Bengal government and the State Election Commission (SEC) to hold municipal polls in the State in one phase. On the previous date of hearing, the petitioner had prayed before a Bench comprising Chief Justice...

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The Calcutta High Court on Monday adjourned to December 1 the hearing of a petition moved by BJP Sate vice-president Pratap Banerjee seeking direction to the West Bengal government and the State Election Commission (SEC) to hold municipal polls in the State in one phase. 

On the previous date of hearing, the petitioner had prayed before a Bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bhardwaj to hold an urgent hearing on the matter after claiming that the State government is mulling holding of elections to municipal corporations of Kolkata and Howrah. Accordingly, the Bench had directed the State Election Commission and the State government to file their affidavits-in-opposition before the next date of hearing. 

On Monday, senior advocate Pinky Anand appearing for BJP leader Pratap Banerjee requested a Bench comprising Justices T.S Sivagnanam and Hiranmay Bhattacharya to adjourn the hearing of the matter to December 1. Senior Advocate Jayanta Mitra appearing for the State Election Commission also acceded to such a request. 

Accordingly, the Division Bench observed, 

"At the request of senior counsel appearing for the appellant, list on Wednesday". 

In the plea, the petitioner contended that polls for all pending municipalities must be conducted together instead of prioritising only the polls for the Kolkata Municipal Corporation and the Howrah Municipal Corporation. It was further pointed out to the Bench that elections to more than 100 municipal bodies in the State including municipal corporations of Kolkata and Howrah have been due for a long time.

The SEC had submitted an affidavit before the Court last week stating that it wants to hold elections to the municipal corporations of Kolkata and Howrah first as the number of double vaccinated people in these two cities is high. It had further stipulated that elections to other municipal bodies in the State would be held in phases later. 

It may be noted that the State Election Commission which conducts municipal and panchayat polls in consultation with the State government has recently accepted the State's proposal to hold civic body elections in Kolkata and Howrah on December 19 and the last date for filing nominations will be on December 1. The counting of votes will take place on December 22. However, no dates have been announced for conduct of polls in other municipal bodies.

Currently, elections are pending in 112 municipalities of the State since 2020. The stipulated five-year term of elected representatives of these municipalities have ended in the last two years, however polls have not taken place due to the ongoing pandemic.

Case Title: Pratap Banerjee v. State of West Bengal and Ors

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