Bengal panchayat polls: HC extends stay on process by a day

17 April, 2018, 16:22 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Court. | PTI

The Calcutta High Court has stayed the ongoing Panchayat election process in the state expressing displeasure over the decision of the State Election Commission to cancel its own order of extending the nomination process by a day.

The division bench of Justice Biswanath Samaddar and Justice Arindam Mukherjee said that since the hearing was on at the single bench of Justice Subrata Talukdar, the single bench will decide on it and that the division bench would not interfere in the process.

The BJP, on whose petition Justice Talukdar stayed the election process, welcomed the order. The next hearing at the single bench is at 2 pm on Tuesday.

The division bench also said that the single bench will conclude the hearing in the matter as expeditiously as possible.

The SEC submitted a report before Justice Talukdar as was directed by him.

TMC MP and its counsel Kalyan Banerjee later said he would argue the matter on its "very maintainability" in the Single Bench as the BJP and the CPI (M) had earlier rushed to the court challenging the SEC forward roll: first extending the deadline for filing of nomination in the face of large-scale violence and then withdrawing it arguably after being bulldozed by three powerful Ministers of Mamata Banerjee Cabinet who had landed at his residence nearly in the wee hours of April 10. "It has said that the single bench will hear the matter now", he said.

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The judge had earlier stayed the withdrawal of the notification, directing the state poll panel to treat its order of cancellation as kept in abeyance.

The panchayat elections are scheduled for May 1, 3 and 5, while the counting of votes is due on May 8.

The nomination process for the panchayat polls ended on April 9, but had been extended by a day by the SEC, which later withdrew the notification.

The high court on April 12 stalled all proceedings of the poll until its fresh order, which is likely to be passed on Monday.

TMC MP and senior lawyer, with his histrionics, tried to convince the court that the High Court did not have any power to supervise the things and that the poll process should not have been stalled in the first place.

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