The Calcutta High Court on Thursday stayed the ongoing Panchayat election process in West Bengal till further orders and asked the State Election Commission (SEC) to furnish by April 16 a comprehensive status report on the polls.
The state's opposition parties welcomed the decision of the single judge, but the ruling Trinamool Congress said it would move the division bench. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has also filed a caveat in the division bench.
Justice Talukdar directed the SEC to include in the status report details like the number of nominations received and rejected.
He said the next hearing on the petitions -- filed by the BJP, as also the CPI-M and the Congress challenging the SEC's April 10 order withdrawing its earlier decision to extend the filing of nominations by a day -- will be held on April 16.
The judge put a number of posers before the SEC, like the number of candidates who expressed their willingness to submit their nominations between 3 p.m on April 9 and 3 p.m on April 10, and how many allegations it came across during this period.
The judge also sought to know the steps the SEC had initiated with regard to the allegations.
The SEC counsel, however, said it had no such information.
While imposing the fine on the BJP, the judge observed that the party's actions were akin to "forum hopping".
The BJP representative tendered an unconditional apology.
Justice Talkukdar had on April 10 granted an interim stay on the SEC's order the same day withdrawing its April 9 decision extending the nomination filing process by a day.
The panchayat elections are scheduled for May 1, 3 and 5, while the counting of votes is due on May 8.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)