Court tells Bengal to follow panchayat poll directives

Kolkata, June 4 (IANS) The Calcutta High Court Tuesday directed the West Bengal government to comply with its earlier order regarding the conduct of panchayat polls.

A bench of Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Joymalya Bagchi, while hearing an application by the State Election Commission (SEC), directed the state government to comply with the directives it had issued while disposing off the commission’s petition May 14.

“There is no dispute that the SEC is in charge of holding the elections and its authority cannot be doubted,” Chief Justice Mishra said during the hearing.

The government has also been directed to provide adequate security during the nomination process for the three-phased poll to be held across 17 districts on July 2, 6 and 9.

The court also directed the government to find a solution to the deficit of 40 observers reported by the commission.

The same bench May 14 ordered that the three-phased panchayat polls be concluded by July 15.

The government was also told to notify the election dates and furnish a list of poll observers to the SEC.

The court also directed the government to compensate shortage of security personnel, if any, by requisitioning forces from other states or the central government.

The SEC Monday moved a fresh application contending that inadequate security was preventing candidates from filing nominations in nine districts going to the polls in the first phase July 2.

The state government counsel Tuesday argued that the court could not pass an order but the court said it was not passing any order but only issuing a directive seeking compliance of its earlier order.

The court would next hear the matter after four weeks.

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