Both factions of GJM can field candidates, rules Division Bench
Darjeeling: A Division Bench of the Jalpaiguri Circuit Bench of Calcutta High Court ruled on Wednesday that both the Binay Tamang and Bimal Gurung factions of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha can field candidates for the Darjeeling Assembly by-elections. However, they will have to be fielded as Independent candidates.
Incidentally, the Gorkha Janukti Morcha had undergone a split in 2017, with both Bimal Gurung and Binay Tamang claiming stake. Later Anit Thapa, the general secretary of GJM, had filed a writ petition at the single bench of Justice Debangshu Basak in Calcutta High Court.
Justice Basak had ordered the Election Commission of India to decide whose claim was right. "The EC has filed an appeal in the Division Bench of Justice Sanjib banerjee and Justice Shuvra Ghosh, stating that the EC does not have the infrastructure to adjudicate on the matter of registered non-recognised parties that number around 2,500 in India," stated Saikat Chatterjee, Special Public Prosecutor.
Joy Saha, the counsel appearing for Anit Thapa, argued that as per Section 29(A) of the Representation of People's Act, all registered parties have to hand in names of office bearers and constitution to the EC hence. As the EC has access to such information, it is but apt that they should adjudicate.
"The appeal was admitted. Though the bench did not give the final order , it ruled that both the Binay Tamang and Bimal Gurung factions can use the name of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha during campaign trail, however the names of the factions have to be specified," stated Chatterjee.
The bench further ruled that candidates fielded by the factions will have to be fielded as Independent candidates. "Symbols used by the GJM in previous elections cannot be used by both the sides and they will have to use the symbols accorded by the EC. As nominations for the by-election will have to filed by April 29 and polling is on May 19, the bench did not give the final order but has given a solution to the impasse for the time being. After the election, the matter will be heard again," added the Special PP.