Court seeks Bengal government’s reply on panchayat poll security

Kolkata, June 19 (IANS) The Calcutta High Court Wednesday directed the West Bengal government to submit its reply by Friday on the State Election Commission’s (SEC) application seeking adequate security arrangements for the upcoming panchayat (rural) polls.

The SEC had Tuesday moved a division bench of Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Joymalya Bagchi, claiming that the state government had failed to make adequate security arrangements for the upcoming three-phased rural polls.

Hearing the application, the bench Wednesday directed the state government to submit its reply regarding the security arrangements it has made and the allegations by the SEC about the shortfall in security arrangements.

The court, in its order earlier, had underlined the primacy of the poll panel in conducting the elections, and directed the state government to make adequate security arrangements as desired by the SEC for the July 2, 6 and 9 polls.

The SEC’s counsel said that only 3,800 policemen were made available during the filing of nominations for the first phase of polls in nine districts scheduled July 2 when the panel had asked for around 31,000 security personnel.

The matter will next come up for hearing Monday.

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