Panchayat poll in three phases with central forces: Cal HC

Kolkata, May 11: The Calcutta High Court on Friday upheld the primacy of the State Election Commission and directed that the panchayat elections be held in three phases with central armed police forces, with the West Bengal govt saying that an appeal would be made against the order in a division bench.

Justice Biswanath Somadder, holding that the primacy of the SEC was non-negotiable and rejecting the state's notification for holding the polls in two phases also directed the state to provide the names of 400 observers from the IAS and WBCS executive cadre to the commission, as demanded by it, within tomorrow.

Holding that there was absolute necessity to hold the elections before the term of the present panchayats ended sometime in June, Justice Somadder also accepted the SEC's prayer for holding the elections with central forces.

The court directed the state to inform the SEC on the number of central forces, forces from other states and from the state to be used for the elections by tomorrow.

Justice Somadder observed that provision under section 42 of the West Bengal Panchayat Act, which says that the state shall announce the dates for holding elections in consultation with the commission, clarified that SEC had a pivotal role.

With regard to the SEC's demand for 800 companies of central armed police force, he observed that "a minute reading of the state's director general of police's letter shows that the state police could not provide armed guards at all premises where elections would be held, much less at all polling stations."

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Courtesy:ISTV Imphal


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