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Supreme Court reserves verdict on repoll of rural elections

Published : Aug 21, 2018, 4:54 am IST
Updated : Aug 21, 2018, 4:54 am IST

Patwalia alleged that Opposition party candidates were virtually prevented from filing their nominations.

Supreme Court of India. (Photo: PTI)
 Supreme Court of India. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions seeking a direction to the West Bengal election commission to conduct fresh polls to the panchayats, which were marred by violence.

A three-judge of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Kanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud rejected the plea on the state government and the state EC for vacating the interim stay order passed in May against notifying the winners of 19,287 seats which were among those uncontested and TMC candidates were sought to be declared winners.   

The bench, however, told the counsel that it would try to give its verdict within a week taking note of the submissions that panchayats could not draw funds after August 26.

Senior counsel Vikas Singh for the state argued that in view of the interim stay granted on May 20 about 3,170 panchayat bodies in the state would become defunct if they are not constituted by August 26. He pleaded that in the absence of elected panchayat, the local administration would come to a standstill.

However, the argument was countered by senior advocate P.S. Patwalia, appearing for BJP, who said that even if the panchayat bodies were not constituted, the administration would go on unhindered as special officers can take charge of the executive functions. He pointed out that day-to-day work of panchayat bodies like issuance of caste, birth and death certificates can be undertaken by the special officers.

Mr Patwalia alleged that Opposition party candidates were virtually prevented from filing their nominations. They were beaten up in violent incidents and when this is the factual position, the state could not contend that filing of election petition was the only remedy.

Mr Singh submitted that alleged sporadic violence and non-contest in certain seats could not be a ground to order fresh polls. The CJI, however, said “we are not getting into the facts. The only thing for our examination is whether non contest in about 20,000 seats has destroyed the free and fair process of elections.”

Tags: supreme court, west bengal election commission
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi