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SC to hear plea seeking deployment of paramilitary forces in Bengal local polls

A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana agreed to list the matter for tomorrow on February 25 after hearing brief submissions by senior advocate P S Patwalia who mentioned the plea before Chief Justice N V Ramana and pressed for an urgent hearing saying the high court had left the decision on the state election commission (SEC).

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a plea by the BJP leaders challenging the Calcutta High Court order directing the state election commissioner to take a decision on the deployment of central paramilitary forces, after examining each of the 108 West Bengal municipalities going to polls on February 27.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana agreed to list the matter for tomorrow on February 25 after hearing brief submissions by senior advocate P S Patwalia who mentioned the plea before Chief Justice N V Ramana and pressed for an urgent hearing saying the high court had left the decision on the state election commission (SEC).

The bench, also comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hima Kohli, said: “We are now addressing the issue of governance. This is for the election commission to decide”.

Patwalia, appearing for BJP leaders Mousumi Roy and Pratap Banerjee, pressed for an urgent hearing in the matter on Friday as the polls are scheduled on Sunday.

He pointed out that a bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud had heard the matter connected with Tripura municipal elections and passed orders on deployment of central forces.

The high court had noted the commissioner has to take a decision on deployment of paramilitary forces and if he decides against it, then he will be personally liable to ensure violence-free and fair elections take place.

In December last year, the Supreme Court declined to entertain a plea by the BJP seeking a direction to the West Bengal government, state election panel and other functionaries, to come up with an action plan, including deployment of sufficient central police forces, for a free and fair municipal polls in Kolkata.