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    Published On : Fri, Aug 24th, 2018
    National News | By Nagpur Today Nagpur News

    SC refuses to cancel WB panchayat polls

    In a relief for Mamata Banerjee, the Supreme Court today turned down the pleas of CPI(M) and BJP seeking cancellation of elections on over 20,000 uncontested local body seats in West Bengal. All these uncontested seats were won unopposed by candidates of the ruling Trinamool Congress and opposition parties had alleged that their candidates were obstructed from filing nomination papers.

    The apex court, however, took note of the allegations and said the aggrieved candidate may file election petitions to challenge panchayat polls in courts concerned.

    A bench comprising Chief Justice DIpak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud exercised its extraordinary power under Article 142 of the Constitution and held that the limitation period of 30 days for filing the election petitions, which has expired, would now commence from the date of notification of panchayat poll results.

    Earlier, the apex court had termed the situation as “grim and grave” and had directed the West Bengal State Election Commission not to declare and notify the results of panchayat body elections in the wake of allegations of large scale violence and alleged obstruction of filing nomination papers.

    The court, meanwhile, set aside the Calcutta High Court decision directing the state poll panel to allow filing of nomination papers in panchayat elections through electronic forms such as e-mails and WhatsApp.

    “The high court was in error while allowing the filing of nomination papers through electronic forms,” it said, adding, “no such process is either mentioned nor allowed under the provisions of the Representation of Peoples Act”.

    Out of a total 58,692 posts for gram panchayat village, zilla parishad and panchayat samiti, 20,159 had remained uncontested in the violence-marred local polls in the state held in May this year. The court was hearing the pleas by parties like the BJP and CPI (M) alleging that candidates from ruling All India Trinmool Congress in West Bengal were only allowed to file nomination papers and as a result, they won without any contest.

    Earlier, the West Bengal government had told court that the row over the recently concluded panchayat polls in the state has led to a “constitutional crisis” since the tenure of several Panchayats were over and new bodies have not been made functional.


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