May 22, 2019 10:16:58 pm
The Tripura High Court Wednesday dismissed a petition of CPI (M) Lok Sabha candidate Shankar Prasad Dutta seeking fresh elections in West Tripura constituency. On May 15, Dutta filed a writ petition in the Tripura High Court, demanding that polling be countermand in West Tripura constituency and fresh elections be conducted.
He claimed a series of notifications issued by the Election Commission after polling in the seat on April 11 proved elections were not “free and fair”.
Dutta’s writ in the High Court was filed after a previous petition by him at the Supreme Court for urgent hearing on similar grounds was turned down. He was asked to take up the issue with the High Court.
On May 16, Justice Arindam Lodh sought replies from Election Commission of India, Chief Electoral Officer of Tripura and Returning Officer of West Tripura seat within May 21 why fresh elections would not be held in the seat. The Election Commission submitted its response through an affidavit.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, senior advocate Shaktimoy Chakraborty, who is representing the Election Commission, said, “The court has accepted our stand. There is a specific bar in Article 329 (a) of the Indian Constitution. In such cases, a petition has to be filed before the Election Tribunal.”
The petitioner was not available for his comments on the issue. However, his counsel Tapas Dutta Majumder said, “The judge has said the petition was dismissed. But we have not got the order yet.”
Tripura has two Lok Sabha seats – West Tripura and East Tripura. Among these, West Tripura went to polls on April 11. The Opposition CPI(M) and Congress has alleged large-scale violence and poll rigging in the seat and demanded fresh elections. Subsequently, the Election Commission held repolls in 168 out of 1,679 polling stations of the constituency on May 12.
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