Observers:SC rejects plea on appointment of bureaucrats

Observers:SC rejects plea on appointment of bureaucrats

The Supreme Court. DH file photo

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea challenging the appointment of two retired bureaucrats as observers in West Bengal for the Lok Sabha polls.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and M R Shah said it was not inclined to entertain the petition as polling was already over.

The bench, however, granted liberty to petitioner Ramu Mandi, who contested the polls as an independent candidate from Barrackpore constituency of West Bengal, to approach the Calcutta High Court, if he was aggrieved.

Barrackpore was one of the seven constituencies in West Bengal where polling was held in the fifth phase of the general elections.

The petition alleged that the two observers — Vivek Dubey and Ajay V Nayak — had been appointed in contravention of the law so as to ensure "certain favours" are granted at the time of election.

It stated that while Dubey was appointed as a central police observer for West Bengal and Jharkhand, Nayak was appointed a special observer for West Bengal.

The petitioner alleged he was "apprehensive" that these observers would "indulge in favouritism and partisanship" and their appointment will directly clash with his interest as an Independent candidate.

"There appears to be no reasonable or cogent reason to nominate or appoint retired officers as observers, especially when there are multiple senior officers who are currently in service and are known to have impeccable integrity and reputation," the plea said.

The petition had also alleged that Dubey and Nayak's appointments as observers did not fulfil the requirement laid down under the Representation of the People Act, since they were retired bureaucrats and not "officers of government".