Bengal panchayat polls: Calcutta HC refuses to interfere in polling process


Kolkata, March 28 (IANS) A division bench of the Calcutta High Court on Tuesday refused to interfere in the process started by West Bengal State Election Commission (WBSEC) for conducting the polls for the three-tier panchayat system.

The division bench of the Calcutta High Court’s Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bhardwaj dismissed the PIL filed by the leader of the opposition in West Bengal, Suvendu Adhikari. The bench also said that the WBSEC will take all decisions pertaining to the polling and the court will not interfere in the matter.

The leader of the opposition filed the PIL on two grounds. The first ground was that the current population figure of the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) in the state should be arrived at on the basis of household survey as was done in case of other backward classes (OBCs). In the PIL he contended that there could not be two separate yardsticks, one in case of SC/ST and the other case of OBCs.

The second ground highlighted in the PIL by the leader of the opposition was relating to the deployment of central armed forces for the rural civic body.

Although the division bench of Justice Srivastava and Justice Bharadwaj dismissed the PIL on Tuesday, it allowed the leader of the opposition to file a separate petition on the point of deployment of central armed forces.

Political observers feel that following Tuesday’s decision by the division bench of the Calcutta High Court hurdles are removed for WBSEC to declare the dates for the rural civic body polls.

Welcoming the decision, Trinamool Congress’s state vice president Jayprakash Majumdar said that attempts by the BJP to create hurdles for the panchayat polls has ultimately been removed. “The court has finally upheld the rights of WBSEC to take decisions about the panchayat polls,” he said.


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