SC won't cancel Bengal panchayat polls

The Supreme Court rejected a plea by the CPM and the BJP for cancellation of West Bengal panchayat polls on grounds of alleged obstruction in the filing of nomination papers. Reuters file photo

The Supreme Court on Friday declined to intervene into the uncontested election of ruling Trinamool Congress candidates on more than 20,000 seats in panchayat body in West Bengal.

It rejected a plea by the CPM and the BJP for cancellation of polls on grounds of alleged obstruction in the filing of nomination papers.

Of 58,692 seats for 'Gram Panchayats', 'Panchayat Samiti' and 'Zila Parishads', 20,159 seats went uncontested in polls held on May 14.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said the electoral process is afforded sanctity in a democracy. Once the election process has commenced, it is the trite law that it should not be interdicted mid-stage, the court said.

“For this court to set aside elections to over 20,000 seats would be to prejudge the basic issue as to whether in each of those constituencies, the election stands vitiated by obstruction having been caused to candidates from filing their nominations. A general assumption of this nature cannot be made,” the bench said.

The court said any challenge to the election can be made through election petitions by an aggrieved party. It made a concession by giving 30 days time for filing election petition from the date of its judgement.

The top court, which had earlier allowed the polls to be held on May 14, set aside the Calcutta High Court order of May 8, directing the state poll panel to allow the filing of nomination papers in panchayat elections through electronic forms, such as e-mails and WhatsApp.

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SC won't cancel Bengal panchayat polls

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