Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Calcutta High Court freezes Bengal panchayat polls

Calcutta High Court freezes Bengal panchayat polls

"This high court ruling is a triumph of democracy over dictatorship", Vijayvergiya told reporters.

The trigger came after the state election commission, on April 10, withdrew its own order extending the deadline to file nominations barely 12 hours after issuing it. The state BJP had moved the Supreme Court against the rollback, which refused to intervene and asked the BJP to approach the Calcutta High Court instead.

Talukdar also sought from the SEC by Monday a comprehensive status report on the poll process, detailing the number of nominations filed and the percentage of those rejected, among other information.

Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court on Thursday stayed till further orders the ongoing panchayat election process in West Bengal.

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Justice Talukdar had on April 10 stayed the SEC order, permitting the commission to take steps in accordance with the law by treating the operation of its order dated April 10 to have been kept in abeyance.

He also imposed a fine of Rs5 lakh on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for concealment of facts. "It is a victory of the people of Bengal who have been fighting for a cause under the leadership of the BJP".

State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said that their trust on the judiciary has been reinstated.

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).

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Justice Subrata Talukdar passed the judgment after hearing the petitions filed by BJP, CPI (M), and People's Democratic Society (PDS).

TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee blamed the Opposition for stalling the election process in the state.

On Tuesday, the West Bengal State Election Commission (WBSEC) on recalled the order citing "legal" complexities and after receiving letters from the government and TMC leader Kalyan Banerjee. Left Front Chairman Biman Bose welcomed the Court order.

On Wednesday (April 11) the top court allowed the plea to be heard by the Calcutta High Court.

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