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Friday, March 31 2023

Kolkata civic polls: SC declines to entertain BJP plea for central forces

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New Delhi:  The Supreme Court on Monday December 13 declined to entertain a plea by the BJP seeking a direction to the West Bengal government, the state election panel and other functionaries, to come up with an action plan, including deployment of sufficient central police forces, for a free and fair municipal polls in Kolkata.

Senior advocate Maninder Singh, representing the West Bengal BJP, submitted before a bench headed by Justice L. Nageswara Rao that BJP nominees, after finalisation of the list for the civic polls, have been threatened. He added that though complaints have been made, but no FIR has been registered by the police. The top court told Singh to move the high court with the grievances and withdraw the plea.

Earlier this month, the top court had agreed to hear the BJP’s plea seeking a direction to the West Bengal government and others to prepare a comprehensive action plan for municipal polls.

The bench asked Singh why a petition under Article 32 of the Constitution, a petition is filed directly in the Supreme Court? It added that high court could be asked to examine the issue of deployment of more central forces for civic polls – slated on December 19 – as it is more aware about the security and other local aspects.

The bench said: “The problem is if we start taking this on (Article) 32, there would be no end.” The West Bengal BJP agreed to withdraw the plea from the top court.

The plea filed by BJP’s state President and MP Sukanta Majumdar, sought a direction to the state functionaries to produce a comprehensive action plan and deploy sufficient central police forces to ensure that free and fair municipal elections are held in Kolkata.

On November 25, the top court had directed the Home Ministry to provide two additional companies of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) to secure polling booths during the Tripura municipal polls. The top court’s direction came on the Trinamool Congress and the Communist Party of India-Marxist’s petitions alleging that their candidates and supporters were not being allowed to cast their votes.

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