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Kolkata: Calcutta High Court has quashed the 10 April order of the West Bengal State Election Commission (SEC) wherein it had cancelled the extended deadline for nomination filing for the Panchayat polls and has directed the poll panel to work out a fresh date for filing of nomination.

This effectively means that the Panchayat polls will not be held on 1, 3, and 5 May ~ the scheduled SEC had announced earlier.

Justice Subrata Talukdar of the High Court gave the verdict today in response to multiple petitions filed by the CPI-M, BJP, Congress, and other opposition political parties alleging that their candidates could not file nomination due to Trinamool violence, and the SEC has failed to live up to its Constitutional obligation.

The original deadline for filing of nomination was 9 April 3 pm. On that day evening, acting on an advice of the Supreme Court, SEC had extended the deadline by a day so to allow filing of nomination by those who could not do so due to alleged violence by Trinamool. But the very next day morning, on 10 April, SEC revoked the extended deadline citing “legal infirmities” pointed out by the Bengal government and the Trinamool.

Justice Talukdar today quashed this 10 April order of the SEC and has directed it to announce a new date for nomination filing. Since the Panchayat Elections Act mandates a minimum 21-day gap between the last day of nomination and the first day of voting, it is now certain that the elections will not be held on 1-5 May.

The judge has also directed the SEC to consult the recognised political parties and the state government before finalising the new date for nomination and voting.

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