Thursday, 19 July, 2018

West Bengal panchayat polls: Supreme Court stays HC order on email nominations

Calcutta High Court Calcutta High Court
Patty Aguilar | 10 May, 2018, 14:11

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the West Bengal Election Commission to not declare the results of the candidates who have won unopposed on their seats.

It added that it was for the SEC, being a constitutional authority, to make rules in respect of filing of nomination forms through e-mail as it would invariably have prevented the large-scale violence, bloodshed and loss of human life.

While hearing a petition filed by the CPI-M to validate nominations submitted through email, a division bench of Justice Biswanath Samaddar and Justice Arindam Mukherjee ordered the Election Commission to accept the applications of CPI-M candidates, who emailed their nominations properly before 3 pm on April 23. The Calcutta High Court order, which allowed them to file nomination from the safety of their homes, has now been overturned by the top court.

He said that the whole process is being subverted and democracy is being destroyed. The CPI (M) has claimed that many of its candidates were prevented from filing nominations by the state's ruling Trinamool Congress.

He submitted that when the SEC had allowed nine candidates to file their nominations through WhatsApp, it should also allow others, who were unable to file their papers physically at the designated government offices, to do so through various electronic modes available.

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The Commission challenged the High Court ruling saying it was bad in law and was not commensurate to the relevant sections of the State Panchayat election act.

The issue is whether nomination papers can be submitted electronically. The order was passed on an appeal filed by the Communist Party of India (Marxist). The poll panel had also said the 25 emails contained 62 nominations of intending candidates.

The division bench had, on May 4, in connection with another appeal, made scathing observations on the commissions neutrality and asked it to consider the observations as a "wake-up call". We expect whenever elections will be held, fair steps will be taken.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

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