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Calcutta HC extends stay on West Bengal panchayat poll process

Press Trust of India  |  Kolkata 

The today extended the stay on the panchayat poll process in West and said the State Election Commission's of a notification giving an additional day for filing of nominations was in question before it.

Justice extended the stay on the panchayat poll process till tomorrow morning when the matter would be heard again.

He said that the had asked the SEC to allay apprehensions of the petitioner or any intending candidate, and in line of that the Commission had extended the nomination process by a day.

It, however, withdrew the notification the very next day, which is in question before the court, the said, while hearing the SEC and the ruling Trinamool Congress's challenge of his order to stay the elections.

Representing the ruling TMC, its said the petitions challenging the decisions of the Commission was not maintainable, and that the court cannot interfere in an ongoing election process.

He claimed that under Article 243(O) of the Constitution, no panchayat election shall be called in question, except by an election petition as per law made by the legislature of that state.

Banerjee, also a TMC Lok Sabha MP, stated that the West Panchayat Act of 2003 provides that in case of any dispute in relation to panchayat polls, petitions can be moved before the civil court within 30 days after completion of election process.

He asserted that how elections would be conducted is the prerogative of the SEC, and cannot be interfered into by the high court.

The had in its April 9 order said, "We hope and trust that in order to ensure fair and free election to the panchayats, the shall take appropriate steps to remove the apprehensions of the petitioner (BJP) and/or intending candidates, and they may not be deprived of their chance to contest the panchayat elections."

Panchayat polls in West are scheduled to be held in three phases from May 1 to May 5, and the counting of votes is slated for May 8.

The nomination process for the polls ended on April 9, but the SEC extended it by a day the same evening, following the apex court order.

The notification was withdrawn by the SEC on the morning of April 10.

The BJP moved the high court challenging the withdrawal, process on April 12.

Apart from the BJP, the CPI(M) and the Congress, too, have moved the high court separately, challenging the SEC's decision.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 17 2018. 19:50 IST