Mr Justice Subrata Talukdar of Calcutta High Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea by the CPI-M to allow online submission of nomination forms for the panchayat polls as had been done in one case on Monday.
Observing that no special circumstances had arisen to issue any such direction, Mr Justice Talukdar said the “court does not wish to interfere”.
Referring to a petition seeking issue of rule of contempt of court against the director general of police, Surajit Kar Purakayasatha and state election commissioner, A K Singh, for allegedly not taking action to stop prepoll violence, the court directed that the petition will come up as a contempt matter in its list in June.
The court directed the counsel appearing in this matter, Bikas Bhattacharya, to place an affidavit. The court had already expressed its views on the panchayat election process and there would be no interference from the court over this petition, the court stated.
Representing the CPI-M, Bhattacharya prayed for a direction to the SEC to accept e-mailed nominations and submitted that Information Technology Act permitted submission of forms through e-mail.
Nominations of nine candidates were accepted by the commission through WhatsApp on 23 April evening after official hours for filing nominations between 11.00 a.m. and 3 p.m., he submitted.
Appearing for All India Trinamul Congress, Kalyan Bandopadhaya argued that the plea for submitting the petitions by e-mail was not part of the original petition, Opposing the petition, SEC secretary Nilanjan Shandilya submitted that according to the West Bengal Panchayat Act 2003, nominations must be filed by a candidate or his proposer in person before the designated officer.
He stated that the nine nominations were accepted under special circumstances. The court had on Monday directed the SEC to make arrangements for the filing of nominations of 11 candidates of the Polerhat II gram panchayat at Bhangar in South 24- Parganas after they claimed that they were being prevented from reaching the office designated for the purpose by armed hooligans.
Nine of the 11 candidates filed their nominations using WhatsApp, Sharmistha Chowdhury, representing the candidates in the court, submitted before the court yesterday.
The candidates had sent photos of their filled up nomination papers to the authorities concerned through WhatsApp as they were manhandled and their papers were snatched at the Alipore Survey Building where they had been directed to go by the SEC to file their nominations, Chowdhury contended.
The court had directed the SEC secretary to treat the nominations of the nine candidates as valid and said that no uncertainty would be accepted by the court over technicalities. Shandilya gave an undertaking before the court that the nominations would be treated as accepted forms.