The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear on Wednesday the BJP's plea challenging the West Bengal State Election Commission's (SEC) decision to recall its yesterday's order extending the deadline for filing of nominations for panchayat polls by a day.
The West Bengal unit of BJP again moved the apex court, hours after the state poll panel suddenly recalled its yesterday's decision extending till Tuesday the last date for filing of nominations for next month's panchayat election in the state, allegedly under pressure from the ruling Trinamool Congress.
Advocate Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the BJP, said the apex court had passed the verdict asking them to give a representation to the State Election Commission with their grievances.
"They (State Election Commission) have extended the deadline for filing the nominations by one day, but today they have recalled the order under pressure from the ruling Trinamool Congress," Bhati said.
Bhati said that due to the recall of the order, BJP candidates were not able to file their nomination papers.
The saffron party in its petition said it was seeking protection of the right of its candidates to enable them to collect and deposit the nomination forms and participate in the panchayat elections, scheduled to be held on May 1, May 3 and May 5.
It said the state poll panel had yesterday at 6 PM announced that the last date of nomination has been extended by one day while acknowledging the fact that several complaints were received regarding candidates being obstructed from filing nominations.
The party said that "in an absolute colourable exercise of powers and in utter disregard to the observations of this court suddenly at around 11 PM on April 10, the WB State Election Commission has passed a fresh order thereby recalling and rescinding the previous order dated April 9, 2018".
"It may be mentioned at this stage that the WB State Election Commission relied upon a letter issued by the Government of West Bengal dated April 9, 2018 and also on a representation by the ruling party of even date and in reliance thereof recalled its order of extension," the plea said.
The apex court had yesterday asked the West Bengal state election commission to "ensure fair and free" panchayat poll in the state and take appropriate steps to allay the apprehensions of BJP or other intending candidates of not being allowed to contest the elections.
It had, however, refused to interfere with the poll process, saying that with the April 2 notification of the State Election Commission, the poll election process has been set in motion.
The apex court had said if any grievances were raised by any political party or any candidate in writing, then the State Election Commissioner (SEC) would ensure disposal of such grievance strictly in accordance with the law forthwith.
It had said the SEC should consider the grievance once made by any party or candidate and pass appropriate orders keeping in view the nature of grievance made and the relevant factors concerning the poll and its process.
The party had initially moved the apex court seeking direction to the SEC to issue nomination forms to the party candidates, so as to enable them file their nominations online and provide them appropriate security.
Today, the State Election Commissioner cancelled the poll panel's previous order extending the deadline for filing of nominations, saying there was no specific direction by the apex court for the extension of the nomination date.
According to the new notification, the State Election Commissioner received two letters, one from the special secretary of the state government and another one from the Trinamool Congress, citing legal infirmities in the previous order of the commission.