3 Months Free Subscription
Advertisement

Calcutta HC dismisses GNLF’s plea to postpone GTA elections

Rejecting the plea, the single-judge bench of Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya observed that “at this time, the court does not find any necessity to interfere in the GTA election process”.

Posters put up at Sonada in Darjeeling district ahead of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration polls, on Friday. Partha Paul

The Calcutta High Court on Friday turned down the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF)’s plea seeking to postpone the elections to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) scheduled on June 26.

Rejecting the plea, the single-judge bench of Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya observed that “at this time, the court does not find any necessity to interfere in the GTA election process”.

In its plea, the GNLF argued that the Gorkha Hill Council was formed in 1988 as per the provisions of the Indian Constitution, but the West Bengal government in 2011 brought in the GTA without making necessary amendments, which was totally “illegal and unconstitutional”.

Representing0 the West Bengal government, state advocate general SN Mookherjee said the preparations for the GTA elections were long started with postal ballots being printed, and thus, there is no justification for postponing the polls at this point of time.

Subscriber Only Stories
Premium
Premium
Premium
Premium

The GTA is under the jurisdiction of an administrator for a long time and in such a situation, it is the moral duty of the state government to complete the election, Mookherjee further argued.

After hearing arguments of both sides, Justice Bhattacharya turned down GNLF’s plea for postponing GTA polls. “The Court cannot shut its eyes to the enormous deployment of resources for the elections. The argument that most of the steps have been taken by the State after the order of the co-ordinate bench dated 19th May 2022 is not an answer to the fact that the applicant’s challenge to the Act was spurned even at a nascent stage. The flow of events continued unabated thereafter and without any intervention by the applicant. The applicant could have taken steps after 19th May 2022 for urgent interim relief since the applicant was fully aware of the scheduled date for the elections.

Having not done so and allowing much water to flow under the proverbial bridge, the applicant cannot now compel the Court to pass an interim order riding on the constitutional challenge to the GTA Act,” reads the order copy.

Advertisement

It further reads, “This Court is not inclined to grant the relief as prayed for, namely, to stay the election process which was initiated from 10th May 2022 or restraining the respondents from giving any effect to the election results till the writ petitions are heard out. The challenge to the constitutional validity remains and will be considered by the Court on a date which is convenient to all the parties and with the leave of the Court.”

Justice Bhattacharya, however, maintained that other objections of the GNLF relating to the formation of GTA would be heard separately at a later date.

The GTA was formed in 2011 to govern Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong, and some mouzas in the Siliguri subdivision. The GTA election was last held in 2012. According to the government, it could not hold elections due to the 2017 agitation and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Advertisement

The GTA Sabha has 45 elected members, while the Governor nominates five. The GJM, the biggest hill party, had then swept the GTA elections winning all seats.

The state government last month announced that the GTA elections would be held on June 26. But, the BJP and its ally
GNLF announced that they would boycott the polls. The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), which was formed in 2007 demanding a separate Gorakhaland state, and was in power in the GTA for several years, also decided to boycott the polls.

First published on: 25-06-2022 at 03:20:41 am
Next Story

5G: All spectrum may not get sold; govt stares at shortfall

Home
ePaper
Next Story
X