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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Municipal elections: HC asks SEC, govt to explain exclusion of Howrah civic poll from notification

In its order on December 23, the bench recorded the statement of the advocate general about the assent having been received. The claim was later refuted by Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
December 31, 2021 10:03:06 am
Kolkata Municipal Corporation, KMC elections, West Bengal State Election Commission WBSEC, CALCUTTA High Court, West Bengal, Kolkata, West Bengal news, Kolkata news, India news, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express NewsThe division bench had earlier directed the state and the SEC to disclose a tentative time schedule for holding polls to the 111 municipal bodies where it is due at the earliest with minimum number of phases. (File)

The Calcutta High Court on Thursday directed the West Bengal State Election Commission (WBSEC) and the state government to file affidavits stating the reason why Howrah Municipal Corporation was excluded from the election notification, while the date for polls to Siliguri, Asansol, Bidhannagar and Chandannagar civic bodies was declared.

Advocate General SN Mookherjee submitted before the court that he had mistakenly made a statement before a division bench presided over by Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava that a Bill regarding bifurcation of Bally Municipality from Howrah Municipal Corporation had received the assent of the governor.

In its order on December 23, the bench recorded the statement of the advocate general about the assent having been received. The claim was later refuted by Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.

A vacation bench comprising justices Shampa Sarkar and Bibhas Ranjan De on Thursday directed the state government and state poll panel to file affidavits before the regular bench on January 6 stating the reason why the Howrah Municipal Corporation (HMC) was excluded from the notification dated December 28.

The state government and the SEC had on December 23 submitted a proposal before the division bench presided over by Justice Shrivastava for holding elections to the five municipal corporations on January 22 and to the rest of the municipalities on February 27, 2022.

The division bench had earlier directed the state and the SEC to disclose a tentative time schedule for holding polls to the 111 municipal bodies where it is due at the earliest with minimum number of phases.

The affidavits will also have to clarify whether the exclusion of the HMC from the notification should amount to a violation of the December 23 observations of the high court and whether the proposal to hold the civic polls, including the HMC, in two phases was an eyewash.

The petitioner’s lawyer submitted before the vacation bench that the respondents could not have gone back on the undertaking given before the court on holding elections to the five municipal corporations on January 22.

It was submitted that the reason behind such action was motivated, mala fide and in order to favour a particular political party.

The AG, appearing for the state, submitted that a proposal was made at the relevant point of time but the said proposal could not be taken as an undertaking or a statement before the court that elections of all the corporations, including the HMC, would be held on the said date.

—With PTI inputs

 

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