Friday, February 3, 2023

Supreme Court dismisses plea seeking deployment of Central paramilitary forces in local body polls in West Bengal

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The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a petition filed by BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari, challenging the Calcutta High Court order over the deployment of Central Paramilitary Forces for local body elections in West Bengal.

A Bench comprising Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Surya Kant refused to entertain the plea, which challenged the Calcutta High Court for directing the State Election Commissioner to examine the ground situation in each of the 108 West Bengal municipalities going to polls on February 27, and take a decision on deployment of Central Paramilitary forces there.

The matter was on Thursday mentioned by Senior Advocate P.S. Patwalia, for BJP leaders Mousumi Roy and Pratap Banerjee, before the bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana for urgent listing. Patwalia told the CJI that the High Court has put the ball in the court of State Election Commission (SEC).

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The Senior Advocate submitted that BJP candidates were not being permitted to file nominations. There have been certain perpetuated incidents. The candidate from BJP raised protest against AITC that he was threatened. The State says there are no incidence of violence. It was in this scenario that we approached the court. We asked the central forces as a supplement to the State forces. There were 5 instances to show State Election was leaning towards AITC

The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday directed that the Commissioner, State Election Commission will collect information in respect of the conditions prevailing in each of the Municipalities where the elections are scheduled and will hold the joint meeting with the Home Secretary of the State and the Director General and Inspector General of the Police within 24 hours and will examine the ground situation of each of the 108 Municipalities and take a decision in writing in respect of deployment of paramilitary forces by mentioning the relevant circumstances in support of his decision to deploy/not to deploy the paramilitary forces.

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“If the Commissioner, State Election Commission takes the decision not to deploy the paramilitary forces, then he will be personally liable to ensure no violence takes place and free, fair and fearless elections take place in the municipality where paramilitary forces are not deployed,”

-the High Court ordered.

A petition was filed by the BJP leaders with a prayer to deploy central forces for the elections to 108 municipalities in West Bengal on February 27.

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