Calcutta HC allows nomination filing through e-mail in rural polls

The Asian Age.

Metros, Kolkata

Hearing both sides, the division bench ordered the WBSEC to accept the CPI (M) candidates’ nominations.

Calcutta High Court (Photo: file)

Kolkata: In another blow to the West Bengal State Election Commission (WBSEC), the Calcutta High Court on Tuesday directed the state poll panel to accept the e-nominations filed by CPI (M) candidates on April 23 which was the extended day for their filing for the panchayat elections.

The ruling has come as a shot in the arm for the CPI(M) which pressed for the high court’s direction to the WBSEC for approval of its candidates’ nominations sent through the email in the wake of alleged attacks by the Trinamul Congress workers in the districts.

CPI(M) lawyer Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya argued why its candidates’ nominations would not be accepted via email by the state poll panel when the nominations of a group of candidates at Bhangar in South 24 Parganas, sent through WhatsApp, was accepted by the WBSEC on an order by Justice Subrata Talukdar of the high court last month.

Objecting to his arguments, the WBSEC told the division bench of Justice Bishwanath Samaddar and Justice Arindam Mukhopadhyay that there was no provision of filing nominations through email. Hearing both sides, the division bench ordered the WBSEC to accept the CPI (M) candidates’ nominations.

It also directed the state poll panel to publish their names in the candidates’ list after scrutinising their nominations. While passing the order, the bench slammed the WBSEC’s role, observing that the state poll panel showed reluctance in accepting the candidates’ nominations via email.

According to the bench, the WBSEC should have acted cautiously in view of the allegations of partiality against it and should have accepted the e-nominations. It made it clear that no political party has the right to give advice to the state poll panel about whose nominations would be accepted.

Hailing the order, Mr Bhattacharyya said, “The verdict is very important for the election process in the entire country. It stated the nominations filed by the CPI (M) candidates through email have to be accepted and the fresh election process has to be started from that date.”

Mr Bhattacharyya said, “It will set an example for future if e-nominations are accepted because it will check violence during the nomination phase. The high court restricted the order to the CPI (M) candidates only, but I think it must be applicable to all others also.” He explained that the verdict also proved that the Opposition parties’ candidates were prevented from filing their nominations which was our main complaint. On the possibility of panchayat polls on May 14, Mr Bhattacharyya noted, “It cannot be held on that date legally. However, it can happen if someone tries to do so by force.” Inspired by the ruling, the state BJP is now planning to move the high court to press for the acceptance of its candidates’ nominations, sent through email earlier. They are estimated to be around 2,000.