Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

The road ahead for Bengal after Calcutta HC suspends panchayat poll process

The road ahead for Bengal after Calcutta HC suspends panchayat poll process

West Bengal Congress President Adhir Chaudhury said, "The Court stay has healed our injuries caused by the prolonged violence by TMC across the state for the last fortnight". Both the courts had so far declined to interfere, upholding the commission's autonomy in dealing with elections while asking opposition parties to take their complaints to the commission. The court also said that it would take a decision on April 16 on whether the poll process should resume after receiving the detailed report from the poll panel.

The West Bengal chapter of the BJP - a miniscule, though raucous force in the state - had gone scrambling to the Supreme Court, pleading that their party hopefuls for the ensuing panchayat elections of that state were not being allowed to fill up the forms by the state's ruling party, the Trinamool Congress (TMC). SEC had rolled back the notification on Tuesday morning and cited legal issues after issuing for withdrawing the order that was issued on Monday night. Previously, on April 10, Justice Talukdar had stayed the withdrawal of SEC's April 9 notification, directing the Commission to treat its order of cancellation as kept in abeyance.

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And some lawmakers say that Governor Eric Greitens could still face impeachment even if he's found not guilty at his trial in St. Defense lawyers for Greitens had attempted to delay the release of the report . "I think his [Greitens] credibility is gone".

He also imposed a fine of Rs5 lakh on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for concealment of facts. The judge described it as "forum hunting". "Some political parties wanted to submit nomination papers today at the office of the state election commission, which can not be done as per law", the WBSEC said. Sourabh Kumar Das, secretary in the panchayat and rural development department, said the state had followed the necessary procedure in asking the commission to conduct the elections. "If our order carried weight then the state election commission would not have withdrawn its order".

The Trinamool Congress now plans to move a division bench against the order of Justice Subrata Talukdar. There are several judgements to show that the court can not intervene once the election process has started, said Kalyan Banerjee, a Trinamool Congress MP and a lawyer.

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"There is no scope for lacuna as we have to continue to unite the people in our fight to restore democracy in West Bengal", CPM state secretary Surjyakanta Mishra said. "We welcome the order wholeheartedly".

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