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April 27, 2018
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SEC may highlight panchayat ‘logistical nightmare’ in Calcutta HCKOLKATA: A desperate State Election Commission is likely to highlight before a division bench of the Calcutta High Court on Monday the “logistical nightmare” if there is no early resolution to the “halted” panchayat poll process. The HC had on Thursday put a stay on the election schedule after throwing a barrage of questions at the poll panel.After Monday, we get 12 clear working days to meet the May 1 first-phase schedule. The nomination withdrawal process is not yet over. After that, election symbols need to be allocated. It may turn out to be a logistical nightmare if there is no early resolution to the issues,” a senior SEC officer, requesting anonymity, said.While the SEC will submit a comprehensive status report, seeking to highlight that after scrutiny of nominations, 58,849 ruling party candidates are in fray in contrast to 95,835 nominations filed by other political parties or independents, the HC will take up Trinamool Congress and SEC’s petition challenging the HC’s April 12 stay order.
The court will also hear opposition parties’ pleas challenging the poll panel’s nomination flip-flop. The opposition has claimed that threats, intimidation and violence by Trinamool supporters had stopped them from filing nominations. The SEC is yet to provide details on the number of complaints it has received.Trinamool Congress MP Kalyan Banerjee argues in his petition, “No high court in the exercise of its power under Article 226 of the Constitution, should pass any order, interim or otherwise, which has the tendency or effect of postponing an election, which reasonably imminent and in relation to which its jurisdiction is invoked.” He also cites several Supreme Court judgements in which it refused to intervene in an electoral process.
On Thursday, the HC had said that “this court is under no illusion that it is the commission’s job to do its statutory job”. The HC believed that it “can and must intervene in aid of an electoral process.”