Kolkata Civic Polls: SC to Hear WB BJP Plea Seeking Deployment of Central Forces

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The plea of BJP is shown to be listed for hearing on December 13. (File photo/News18)

The plea of BJP is shown to be listed for hearing on December 13. (File photo/News18)

BJP said that there was a necessity to deploy Central forces in light of post-poll Violence in May 2021.

PTI New DelhiLast Updated:December 07, 2021, 19:46 ISTFOLLOW US ON:

The Supreme Court will hear on December 13 the BJP plea seeking a direction to the West Bengal government, the state poll panel and other functionaries to prepare a comprehensive action plan and deploy sufficient central police forces to ensure free and fair municipal polls in Kolkata. A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana was urged by senior advocate Maneka Guruswamy, appearing for the BJP, that its candidates in the state are being threatened and pressured ahead of the municipal polls.

Initially, the bench, also comprising justices A S Bopanna and Hima Kohli, expressed reservation saying, You see, these are all election matters and you (BJP) have to fight a battle on the ground. We can't entertain and allow it. The senior advocate then referred to the hearing which has been conducted by a bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud on a similar plea of All India Trinamool Congress Party with regard to alleged pre-civic poll violence in Tripura.

We will see the bundle (case records). We will decide it (listing of plea), said the bench. As per the update available on the apex court website, the plea of BJP is shown to be listed for hearing on December 13.

The top court on November 25 had directed the Ministry of Home Affairs to provide two additional companies of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) to secure the polling booths during the Tripura municipal polls after the opposition TMC and CPI (M) alleged that their candidates and supporters were not allowed to cast their votes. The BJP, in its plea filed by its state president and MP Sukanta Majumdar, has sought a direction to the State Functionaries to produce a comprehensive action plan and deploy sufficient Central Police forces to ensure that free and fair Municipal Elections are held in Kolkata".

The plea, filed through lawyers Aditya Sharma and Nachiketa Joshi, said that BJP finalized its candidates after the West Bengal State Election Commission notified the elections to be held for Kolkata Municipal Corporation. That pursuant to finalization of the candidates by the Bhartiya Janta Party, various candidates have received threats and are being pressured to withdraw their candidature. Some of the candidates have reported that members of their family are being threatened.

… these threats and violence cast grave infractions on the constitutional mandate of conducting free, fair and democratic election, the plea said and referred to some complaints made by party candidates to the authorities. It said that there was a necessity to deploy Central forces in light of post-poll Violence in May 2021.

Holding free and fair elections is a Constitutional mandate. Article 324 is a reservoir of power for the Election Commission to act for avowed purpose of pursuing the goal of free and fair elections and in this view it also assumes the role of the advisor, it said. The petition said that it is seeking adequate security development in light of the targeted widespread post poll violence that occurred in West Bengal in May this year.

It said representations have been filed with the authorities and the Governor seeking deployment of additional forces to ensure a fair and transparent election on November 29, 30. This has been done in light of the fact that the candidates have been receiving threats from TMC goons which have been identified by the candidates. Candidates are scared for their life and are being pressured to withdraw their nomination, it said.

Deployment of central forces will aid and assist the state administration in conducting free and fair elections and this is necessary to ensure free and fair elections, it said. Conducting free and fair elections is inherent to the functioning of the democracy and therefore free and fair elections form part of the basic structure of this Democracy, it said.

Besides the state government, the plea has made the Home Secretary (Police), the DG & IGP and the Centre as parties.

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