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SC orders Centre to deploy forces in Tripura for free, fair municipal polls

The top court said it should be ensured that every polling booth is manned by paramilitary forces to ensure free and fair elections.

SNS | New Delhi |

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Centre to deploy two additional companies of central paramilitary forces in Tripura as expeditiously as possible for municipal elections held on Thursday.

The top court said it should be ensured that every polling booth is manned by paramilitary forces to ensure free and fair elections.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, Surya Kant, and Vikram Nath noted that since there is an absence of CCTV cameras, it is important for the print and electronic media to have full access to the report on the municipal elections.

Senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, representing the Tripura government, submitted that in addition to 78 sections, 15 additional sections have been deployed pursuant to the directions by the DGP and home secretary. The bench was informed that 2 companies of BSF have been deployed by MHA.

The top court directed the DGP and home secretary of Tripura to ensure that all polling booths are properly manned by security forces to ensure free and fair elections.

The top court noted that the DGP and home secretary will assess the situation and consider if more companies were to be deployed. Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for TMC, mentioned that as the polling is in progress, several incidents of violence have been recorded and sought to hear post-lunch to show the court those videos.

On November 23, the apex court said postponing an election in a democracy is an extreme recourse, as it may set off a wrong trend and declined to entertain a plea by All India Trinamool Congress to postpone municipal elections in Tripura, in the backdrop of allegations of deteriorating law and order situation. However, the top court directed the DGP and IG of Tripura to take steps to ensure municipal elections are conducted in a peaceful manner.

The directions came on a plea by All India Trinamool Congress and others claiming that the law-and-order situation is worsening in the state as the date for local body elections draws closer.