The Supreme Court was today irked over the West Bengal State Election Commission not respecting its direction to consider the grievances of the BJP and other parties over the panchayat polls and recalling its notification extending the deadline for filing of nomination papers.
The top court asked the state unit of BJP to approach the Calcutta High Court with its grievances and raise its pleas before it tomorrow itself.
In less than 12 hours of extending the last day of submission of nomination for the forthcoming panchayat elections till yesterday, the West Bengal State Election Commission had taken a U-turn and withdrawn the notification Tuesday morning citing legalities.
When a bench of Justices R K Agrawal and A M Sapre was dictating its order, senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for state poll panel, said it may also record in the order that the Calcutta High Court should not draw any inference from it.
To this, the bench asked "why should we record that in the order? It is now up to the Calcutta High Court to look into the matter".
Dave replied, "Your order carries weight and therefore the court may record that no inference should be drawn from it".
"Had our order carried such weight, the State Election Commission would not have recalled its order for extending the deadline," the bench said in a sarcastic tenor.
In its order, the bench said the Calcutta High Court was already seized of the matter and had passed an order yesterday staying the State Election Commission's order for extension of the deadline.
"As the matter is pending consideration before the Calcutta High Court, liberty is granted to the parties to approach the Calcutta High Court to raise all such pleas which are available to them," it said and asked the high court to decide the matter expeditiously in accordance with law.
During the hearing, senior advocate P S Patwalia, appearing for the state BJP, claimed that State Election Commission (SEC) was pressurised to withdraw its order yesterday for extension of deadline for filing of nomination papers.
"Even before the SEC recalled its order for filing of nomination papers, ruling Trinmool Congress party leader had declared that they have won 150 seats in panchayat polls unopposed. Police teams were sent to the house of State Election Commissioner and he was made to switch on his cell phone," Patwalia said, narrating the sequence of events.
He said that on April 9, the SEC had extended the deadline for filing of nomination papers by a day while recording that there were several complaints by candidates of various parties about not being allowed to file nomination papers.
Patwalia said the ruling dispensation was the "oppressor" and was not allowing candidates of other parties to file the nomination papers. He said the court should give one extra day for filing of nomination papers for the panchayat polls.
He said the top court should not entertain this interlocutory application as on a similar petition, Calcutta High Court has passed the order.
The bench after hearing the arguments asked BJP to approach the high court and disposed of its plea.
The West Bengal BJP unit had moved the apex court, hours after the state poll panel suddenly recalled its decision extending the last date for filing of nominations by a day. The panchayat elections are scheduled to be held on May 1, May 3 and May 5.
The apex court had on April 9, 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 the BJP or other 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 SEC, the poll election process has been set in motion.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)