The Supreme Court of India
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Kolkata: The Supreme Court has ordered an interim stay on Calcutta High Court’s directive to the Bengal State Election Commission (SEC) for accepting e-mailed nominations filed for the ensuing Panchayat poll in Bengal

At the same time, the apex court has, however, asked the SEC not to handover winner certificates to the nearly 34 per cent Trinamool candidates who got a walkover as rival party candidates could not file nominations due to alleged intimidation and violence by Trinamool.

The SC division bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Mishra, which ordered the stay today, will hear the matter again on 3 July. Till then, the fate of Trinamool’s uncontested candidates will hang in balance.

CPI-M had filed a petition in the Calcutta High Court that several of its candidates could not file the nominations in person due to the intimidation and violence by the ruling party Trinamool and hence they e-mailed the nominations to the SEC, which should be accepted.

Responding to this, the High Court on 8 May passed an order directing the SEC to accept all such e-mailed nominations by candidates irrespective of their party affiliations, provided that the e-mails were received by the deadline for nomination filing.

Challenging the order, SEC moved the Supreme Court on yesterday. It pleaded that there is no provision for online or e-mail nomination in the West Bengal Panchayat Elections Act. As such, the e-mailed nominations cannot be accepted.

Both CPI-M and BJP swung into action and filed caveats in the apex court saying that they shall be heard before the court decided anything on the matter.

The SC bench led by Chief Justice Mishra took up the matter today and ruled that since the Panchayat Elections Act does not provide a scope for online nomination filing, the order of the Calcutta High Court stands overruled.

It was then that the BJP’s counsel pointed out that nearly 34 per cent Panchayat seats in Bengal have been captured by Trinamool uncontested as opposition party candidates were stopped from filing nominations through intimidation and violence.

This left the SC bench surprised and it asked the SEC not to issue winner certificates to such candidates until the matter is disposed of by the SC.