Kolkata: Supreme Court today refused to hear petitions of the Left Front and the BJP over irregularities in the Panchayat poll process and asked them to approach the Calcutta High Court instead.
Left Front and BJP had moved separate petitions in the apex court this morning challenging the West Bengal State Election Commission’s (SEC) order wherein it revoked the extended deadline for filing Panchayat polls nomination.
Taking up the matter, a division bench of the apex court comprising justice RK Agarwal and justice AM Sapre said that all matters relating to the Bengal Panchayat polls will be heard by the High Court and asked the Left and the BJP to move petitions there.
In a related development, a hearing into the same matter in relation to a petition filed by the BJP yesterday could not be held at the Calcutta HC today as the saffron party’s counsel did not turn up. The hearing will now be conducted at 10.30 am tomorrow.
The single-judge bench of justice Subrata Talukdar of the HC had yesterday stayed the deadline extension cancellation order of the Bengal poll panel and asked it to find out ways to facilitate nomination filing by such prospective candidates who could not do so by the original deadline.
The original deadline for filing nominations to contest the coming Panchayat polls was 9 April 3 pm. As a vast number of prospective candidates were failing to file nomination due to physical attacks by miscreants, BJP moved the Supreme Court seeking its intervention.
The apex court on 9 April gave its ruling and said that it will not intervene in the matter as the conduct of the polls solely rests with the poll panel. It, however, advised the poll panel to address the grievances of the opposition parties and find out some way to ensure that all were able to file nominations.
In response to this, the Bengal poll panel issued an order on 9 April night extending the nomination filing deadline till 3 pm of 10 April. But making a volte-face, it cancelled the order on 10 April morning citing objections from the Trinamool and the state government. This made the BJP move the High Court.
Meanwhile, sources in the poll panel said that it will not extend the nomination deadline anymore or change the poll schedule until and unless there is a clear-cut directive from the court. The poll panel will publish the final list of candidates after the last day of nomination withdrawal on 16 April.