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Bengal Panchayat Polls Likely to be Deferred as Case Sent Back to Calcutta HC's Single Bench

The State Election Commission (SEC) and the Trinamool Congress had moved the Division Bench challenging the April 12 Single Bench interim order temporarily stalling the election process till its next hearing.

Sujit Nath | News18.com

Updated:April 16, 2018, 9:18 PM IST
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Bengal Panchayat Polls Likely to be Deferred as Case Sent Back to Calcutta HC's Single Bench
The Division Bench of Justices Biswanath Samaddar and Arindam Mukherjee sent the matter back to the Bench of Justice Subrata Talukdar who would now hear the case on Tuesday. (Image: News18)
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Kolkata: Panchayat polls in West Bengal are likely to get delayed as a Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court on Monday refused to interfere with the court's previous single bench order staying the poll process.

The Division Bench of Justices Biswanath Samaddar and Arindam Mukherjee sent the matter back to the Bench of Justice Subrata Talukdar who would now hear the case on Tuesday.

The State Election Commission (SEC) and the Trinamool Congress had moved the Division Bench challenging the April 12 Single Bench interim order temporarily stalling the election process till its next hearing. It had also sought a detailed status report on the nomination process from the Commission.

The order means that it is unlikely that the SEC would be able to stick to its earlier announced panchayat poll schedule starting from May 1. The election dates are now most likely to get deferred.

The order was passed in response to a writ petition filed by the state's opposition parties alleging large scale violence and intimidation by the ruling TMC that led to obstruction in filing of nominations.

Challenging that order, SEC Secretary Nilanjan Shandilya and TMC leader and lawmaker Kalyan Banerjee made a plea before the Division Bench seeking urgent hearing against Justice Talukdar's order which the court dismissed.

On April 9, taking into account the opposition parties' complaints of violence over filing of nominations, the SEC had extended the deadline for nomination filing by a day. But hours later, on the morning of April 10, the Commission recalled that order citing legal issues. Alleging that the SEC's U-turn was a result of it succumbing to the pressures from the ruling TMC, the BJP, Congress and Left had moved court.

Speaking to News18, state BJP General Secretary Pratap Banerjee said, "We welcome this decision since the ruling party was trying to overturn the Single Bench order. We are hopeful of getting justice."

Bengal Pradesh Congress president Adhir Chowdhury too expressed satisfaction and said, "We have full faith in the judiciary. There is no democracy in Bengal and we appeal to the court for justice against the ongoing anarchy in Bengal."

TMC general secretary, Partha Chatterjee alleged that the opposition parties are intentionally delaying the poll process because they aren't ready to face the poll process. "They know that they will be rejected by the people and therefore they are delaying the process. TMC believes in people’s court," he said.
(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat of the state Assemblies in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you put on the psephologist's hat. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections. Elections = News18)
| Edited by: Bijaya Das
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