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Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Hold civic polls at the earliest: HC tells govt

The Mamata Banerjee government has said the polls could not be organised because of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
January 30, 2021 4:29:19 am
Calcutta High Court, Kolkata Municipal Corporation, Mamata Banerjee, justice Indraprasanna Mukhopadhyay, CPIM Howrah, justice Mohammad Nizamuddin, kolkata high court, kolkata latest news, Kolkata municipal elections, indian expressCalcutta High Court (File Photo)

The Calcutta High Court on Friday ordered the state government to conduct municipal elections at the earliest. The court did not pass any order related to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) polls, observing that the matter is pending adjudication in the Supreme Court.

The Mamata Banerjee government has said the polls could not be organised because of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.

“It is to be borne in mind that the term of the councillors of the municipal bodies in question has long expired, and that all steps should be taken to convene and hold the municipal election as early as it is feasible,” the court said.

The order was passed by a Division Bench of justices Indraprasanna Mukhopadhyay and Mohammad Nizamuddin after hearing a PIL plea for immediate election submitted by the Howrah district unit of the CPI(M).

“We also accept the submission that the electoral roll for the municipal elections can only be finalised after the electoral roll for the Assembly elections in 2021 is finalised. We have every reason to believe that this electoral roll for the Assembly elections will be finalised shortly. As far as the date or dates for holding the municipal elections are concerned, the decision is to be taken by the State Election Commission and the state government in consultation with each other, fairly and judiciously, taking all logistic factors into consideration, so that a peaceful and an uninterrupted electoral process for the municipal bodies is undertaken,” said the judges.

CPI(M) Howrah district secretary Biplab Majumder claimed that the state government did not conduct the polls as it fears losing its majority in the civic bodies. He alleged that the ruling party used the pandemic as an excuse to avoid polls.

In December, the Supreme Court had directed the state government to hold the elections immediately. Following the order, the state administration decided to conduct the polls in March 2021.

Elections to more than 106 civic bodies, including the KMC, have been pending for over a year.

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