In a setback to the West Bengal government,the Calcutta High Court today upheld the primacy of the State Election Commission and directed that the panchayat elections would be held in three phases with Central armed police force as per the SEC’s prayer.
Holding that the primacy of the SEC was non-negotiable,Justice Biswanath Somadder,directed that the rural polls be held in three phases as sought by the commission,rejecting the state’s notification for holding the elections in two phases.
Holding that there was absolute necessity to hold the elections before the term of the present panchayats ended sometime in June,Justice Somadder observed that it was an extraordinary situation and as such it required extraordinary directions.
Justice Somadder,passing the order on the SEC’s petition claiming that the state government’s decision to hold the rural polls in two phases was unilateral and the need to deploy central forces,directed the state to provide names of 400 observers from IAS and WBCS Executive cadre to the commission,as demanded by it,within tomorrow.
Also accepting the SEC’s prayer for holding the elections with central forces,which was vehemently opposed by the state,the court directed the state to inform the SEC on the number of central forces,forces from other states and forces from within the state to be used for the elections by tomorrow.
Justice Somadder said he would not give observations on the SEC’s prayer for adequate funds as the state has submitted that adequate funds would be provided for holding the panchayat elections.
The court directed the SEC to instruct all political parties not to use observations of the court in the instant case during election campaign.