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HC extends stay on poll process by a day

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

The BJP state secretary Pratap Banerjee on Thursday submitted before Justice Subrata Talukdar of Calcutta High Court that the state election commission had revoked its own order extending the last date of filing of nominations for the panchayat poll just when the party was asking its candidates to file nominations. This, he contended, made the SEC cancellation suspect.

The extension of nomination date for the panchayat elections is a pointer to the fact that many could not file their nomination papers. The state election commissioner had written to district magistrates and superintendents of police indicating trouble during nomination process and now the process should be set in motion in a manner to ensure nominations can be filed without fear, it was submitted.

Justice Talukdar will pronounce the verdict tomorrow on the maintainability of an interim order staying the SEC cancellation of its order extending the last date of filing of nomination forms.

The court extended the stay on the poll process for a day. Not admitting any of the allegations raised against SEC, its secretary, Nilanjan Shandilya, submitted that there is a bar on the court’s interference in election matters and the powers of the SEC are meant to supplement the law rather than supplant it.

The commission held meetings with authorities and acted on complaints till 9 April, it was submitted after the court asked what the SEC’s response to allay grievances had been.

It is shocking to hear SEC, a constitutional body, contend that the interim order is not maintainable, Bikas Bhattacharya, appearing for the CPI-M, submitted during the day.

What is fair and just to citizens should be done by a public authority like SEC, ensuring all candidates can file nomination and when it fails to do so the commissioner should be removed, it was submitted.

Instead of pleading helplessness, the SEC should adopt a fresh approach to let every willing person submit nomination papers.The SEC is empowered to take care of the mischief makers and give sufficient time to file nominations, it was further submitted.

The SEC by its revocation order seems to have taken preemptive action to please someone whose name I won’t take, PCC chief Adhir Chowdhury submitted.

The fact remains that the judiciary has stepped in as the rights of the citizens were being trampled, it was submitted. If All India Trinamul Congress counsel contends lack of evidence, the video clippings of the incidents before the submission of nomination are sufficient pointers to the violence marring the election process, Party for Democraticd Socialism (PDS) leader, Samir Putatunda submitted.

All development work is in limbo and no new projects can be launched till the conclusion of the rural polls whose schedule had been chalked out keeping in mind the logistics, weather and examination programmes, officer on special duty, state panchayat department, Sourav Das submitted.

Vague pleadings are being made before the court and if the commissioner is sought to be removed it would require an impeachment, Kalyan Bandopadhaya, appearing for the Trinamul Congress submitted in his reply.

Any decision not to hold election and delay administration by local selfgovernment can be challenged, it was submitted, opposing the maintainability of the interim order.