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Bhawanipore bypoll case: Cal HC allows EC to file affidavit

The advocate representing the EC sought a short adjournment to file an affidavit regarding the contents of two paragraphs of the notification issued for the election, in view of the arguments raised by Bikash Bhattacharya, the senior counsel for the petitioner.

PTI | Kolkata |

The Calcutta High Court on Thursday allowed the Election Commission (EC) to file an affidavit regarding the contents of the notification issued by it for the Bhawanipore bypoll.

The court was hearing public interest litigation that urged it to step into the poll process in the constituency, as the EC allegedly mentioned that a constitutional crisis would arise if the by-election to Bhawanipore was not
held, which the petitioner claimed the poll body cannot.

The advocate representing the EC sought a short adjournment to file an affidavit regarding the contents of two paragraphs of the notification issued for the election, in view of the arguments raised by Bikash Bhattacharya, the senior counsel for the petitioner.

A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj adjourned the hearing in the PIL till Friday when it will be taken up again. The West Bengal government had during an earlier hearing on 13 September, submitted that the chief secretary of the state had only written to EC, requesting that the bypoll be held and the commission had accepted the request.

It had submitted that the state has no role in the decision to hold the bypoll and that it is the sole preserve of the EC. Bypoll to Bhawanipore was necessitated following the resignation of TMC MLA Sovandeb Chattopadhyay to facilitate Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s election to the assembly.

According to the constitutional provision, a person has to get elected within six months of taking oath as a chief minister or a minister. She took oath as chief minister for the third consecutive term on 5 May.