New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain the petition filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seeking deployment of Central Forces in the upcoming municipal corporation elections in West Bengal and asked the party to approach Calcutta High Court.
A Bench of Justices L Nagesara Rao and BR Gavai told senior advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for the BJP, that it will not entertain the plea and the party can approach the High Court. Singh then withdrew the petition with liberty to approach the High Court.
During the brief hearing, Singh told the Bench that there were widespread threats of violence and the BJP candidates were being threatened to withdraw from the contest in the municipal elections in Kolkata.
As BJP contended that the top court entertained a similar petition recently for the Tripura election, the Bench said if it starts entertaining petitions then people and political parties from across the country will start filing petitions directly in Supreme Court on panchayat and municipal elections.
On November 25, the top court had directed the Ministry of Home Affairs to provide two additional companies of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) to secure the polling booths during the Tripura municipal elections after the opposition TMC and CPI (M) approached the apex court alleging that their candidates and supporters were not allowed to cast their votes.
BJP has approached the apex court seeking a direction to the West Bengal government, the state poll panel and other functionaries to prepare a comprehensive action plan and deploy sufficient central police forces to ensure free and fair municipal polls.
The petition submitted that after BJP nominated and finalized the candidates for the Kolkata Municipal Corporation elections, they have been receiving threats and are being pressurized to withdraw their candidature.
These threats and violence “cast grave infractions on the constitutional mandate of conducting free, fair and democratic election,” said the plea.
The BJP, in its plea filed by its state president and MP Sukanta Majumdar, said that BJP finalized its candidates after the West Bengal State Election Commission notified the elections to be held for Kolkata Municipal Corporation on Day 19.
There was a necessity to deploy Central Forces in light of post-poll violence in West Bengal in May 2021, it added.
The petition stated that representations have been filed with the authorities and the Governor seeking deployment of additional forces to ensure a fair and transparent election.
first published:Dec. 14, 2021, 9:26 a.m.