Calcutta HC single bench extends stay on rural poll process

Arjun Ram Meghwal

While leaders and workers of the Left parties held a rally, Congress leaders held a hunger strike at Rani Rashmoni Road in central Kolkata.

Welcoming the order, BJP's Bengal unit general secretary Pratap Banerjee said, "The division bench threw out the ruling party's appeal to vacate the single bench order".

Kolkata: In a fresh jolt to West Bengal government, the future of Panchayat polls is stuck in a legal limbo as Calcutta High Court division bench sent the case back to single Bench.

A division bench of justices B Somadder and A Mukherjee said it does not want to interfere in an "intra-court matter" at this stage, and that the petitions would be heard before the single bench.

When asked about the recent incidents of violence surrounding the filing of nominations of Panchayat polls in the state, Meghwal said it went against the spirit of democracy and did not gel with the culture of Bengal. We never wanted to stall the election.

The opposition parties in the state have been alleging widespread violence during the filing of nominations.

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The directive by the bench came after BJP, Left and Congress alleged that the TMC resorted to violence to hinder the filing of nominations by opposition candidates.

The Calcutta High Court has halted the panchayat poll procedure on a petition filed by the BJP. "The TMC was refusing because it knew that the order will not be in their favour".

During plea, justices asked lawyer from TMC, MP Kalyan Banerjee that why they have appealed to the division bench when the single bench is hearing the matter.

State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury, who participated in the protest, said the votes will be a farce without central forces.

On April 12, Justice Talukdar stayed the election process till April 16 and sought a detailed report from the SEC on measures taken to address the Opposition's concerns. "The single bench judge will decide if the writ petition is maintainable or not".

Staying the election process on April 12, Justice Talukdar had directed the SEC to file a comprehensive status report on the poll process, detailing the number of nominations filed and the percentage of nominations rejected, among other information. The state panchayat polls are scheduled to be held on May 1, 3 and 5.

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