Lack of fresh currency notes of lower denominations, mainly Rs 10, 20 and 50 have let the common people and small traders face harassment.
The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday directed deployment of central armed forces personnel in sensitive districts for the forthcoming Bengal panchayat polls. A division Bench of Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharya also identified seven districts in the state as sensitive.
It also directed the West Bengal State Election Commission to review whether deployment of central forces is required elsewhere, other than the seven districts identified as sensitive. The districts are East Midnapore, Birbhum, South 24-Parganas, parts of North 24-Parganas, Murshidabad, Jalpaiguri and Hooghly. “The State Election Commission should ensure polls in a peaceful ambience.
The commission should deploy central armed forces where there is a deficit of state police force. So, deployment of central forces is necessary to ensure free and fair polls. The Union government also should provide the necessary forces as demanded by the state government,” the division Bench observed. It also said that the Union government will have to bear the expenses for deployment of the central forces.
The state today, however, informed the court that 15 battalions of armed police from other states would be deployed for conducting polls. The division Bench, however, refused to interfere with the Commission’s decision about the extension of the period of nomination for the rural civic body polls. It also turned down the plea for the polls being conducted under the supervision of a retired judge of the Calcutta High Court. It also said that the CCTVs should be installed in each and every polling booth and if necessary, the entire polling process should be video recorded.
The court gave clear instructions to the state government and the State Election Commission not to use civic volunteers in poll-related security duties at any cost. However, it observed that in case of extreme necessity, contractual state government employees can be deployed in other poll-related duties. Opposition parties were demanding deployment of central armed forces since the day the polling and counting dates were announced by State Election Commissioner Rajiva Sinha.