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What Steps Are You Taking to Ensure Fair Polls, SC asks Tripura Govt; Refuses to Postpone Civic Elections

A delegation of TMC MPs protest outside the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) over alleged police brutality in Tripura, in New Delhi, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. (PTI Photo/Manvender Vashist)

A delegation of TMC MPs protest outside the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) over alleged police brutality in Tripura, in New Delhi, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. (PTI Photo/Manvender Vashist)

At the beginning of the hearing, the TMC’s counsel spoke about several incidents of violence that have taken place in Tripura.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a detailed security arrangement plan from the Biplab Deb government to ensure free and fair municipal elections scheduled on November 25. The apex court was hearing a contempt plea by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) that claimed that the law-and-order situation in the state is ‘worsening’ by the day ahead of civic body polls.

“We realise that you’re isolating in your home. What we’ll do is we’ll give you an hour and a half. Take detailed instructions from the police and home secretary on exactly what arrangements are being made for today and tomorrow at the polling booths and safety measures for polling day right up till the declaration of results,” the Supreme Court said, Bar and Bench reported.

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A bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud was hearing a contempt plea by MC claiming that law and order situation is worsening in the state, as the date for local body elections draws closer and the government authorities have not followed the top court’s direction on security arrangements. It declined to postpone the elections, and ordered the state government to ensure that elections are conducted in a peaceful manner.

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“Take these detailed instructions and come back at 12:45 pm. We want you to make a statement on what steps you are taking for today, the pre poll process, the polling process up to the declaration of results,” the judge added.

At the beginning of the hearing, the TMC’s counsel spoke about several incidents of violence that have taken place in Tripura. “In the screenshots, you can see that while violence is taking place, the police is standing and doing nothing,” TMC’s counsel reportedly said.

Justice Chandrachud asked senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, representing the Tripura government, to bring on record the detailed security arrangement, which will be in place to ensure free and fair local body elections, and also the declaration of results.

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“We want to know what you’re doing to ensure free and fair elections. When is the counting and what steps are you taking to ensure that nothing happens between today and the counting day?” the court asked

The top court also sought to know the presence of the central paramilitary forces so that the same can be deployed to the areas.

On November 11, the Supreme Court asked the Tripura Police to ensure that none of the political parties were prevented from exercising their rights to campaign, for the upcoming local body elections, in a peaceful manner.

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first published:November 23, 2021, 17:00 IST