In the hearing on the case about the recent West Bengal panchayat elections in which the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the BJP have claimed that there was large-scale vandalism by the incumbent Trinamool Congress-run government and that candidates were not allowed to file their nomination, the Supreme Court on Friday (August 24) set aside the West Bengal high court order and said that whoever is aggrieved with the election results can file their petitions before the concerned court within 30 days.
The bench comprising CJI Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud was hearing the plea by West Bengal State Election Commission, challenging the West Bengal HC’s order permitting e-filing of the nomination papers by reading the provisions of the Information Technology Act into the Representation of People Act.
While quashing the WB high court order, the bench said: “The high court was in error while allowing the filing of nomination papers through electronic forms. No such process is either mentioned or allowed under the provisions of the Representation of Peoples Act.”
The apex court had on August 13 asked the WBSEC as to whether it directed any investigation into the fact that a large number of seats in the Panchayat elections in the state went uncontested.
To which the poll panel had replied that 33 percent of nearly 50,000 panchayat seats going uncontested in the state was not “an alarming situation”.
The poll panel had also told the top court that it cannot influence political parties to field candidates. And it took immediate actions when it received complaints about panchayat elections and even conducted re-polls.
—India Legal Bureau