SEC revokes its nomination extension, creates legal logjam
Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday passed an interim stay order on the State Election Commission's (SEC) order that revoked its previous directive to extend the deadline for filing of the Panchayat poll nominations.
In less than 12 hours after ordering the extension of nomination filing by a day, State Election Commissioner A K Singh issued a fresh order on Tuesday morning, revoking the earlier order citing legal hurdles.
State BJP leader Pratap Bandyopadhyay moved the high court challenging the revoked order of the SEC.
Justice Subrata Talukdar heard the petitioner and his opponent in his chamber given the ongoing ceasework.
Bandyopadhyay, after coming out of Justice Talukdar's chamber, told reporters that the court has passed an interim injunction on the SEC's cancellation of Monday's order and added that the matter would be heard again on April 23.
The court has directed all parties involved in the matter to file affidavits, stating their position on the matter before the next hearing date.
Trinamool Congress MP Kalyan Banerjee, who appeared for the party, said that though the court has passed a stay on the order, it has refused to interfere with the election process. He claimed that as scrutiny of nominations will begin from Wednesday, the interim order will not affect the election process.
"I had mentioned before Justice Talukdar that the BJP had also moved an application before the Supreme Court on the same issue and pointed out that one cannot move a particular plea before the two courts at the same time," Banerjee said, adding that the court has agreed to hear the issue of BJP approaching both the Apex Court and the high court on Wednesday.
Sources in the SEC also stated that extension of dates for filing of nominations that ended on Monday is very unlikely. Late on Monday evening, the SEC had passed an order that nominations would be received at the designated state government offices from 11 am to 3 pm but cancelled the order on Tuesday morning. It may be mentioned that Commissioner A K Singh said Monday night's order was being rescinded "…in response to representation by All India Trinamool Congress under the signature of Kalyan Banerjee, vice-president, pointing out legal infirmities in the Commission's order".
The notification further stated: "It appears that there was no specific direction by the Supreme Court of India for extension of the nomination date. Therefore, on perusal of all the papers and considering all the points, the Commission hereby recalls the said order and therefore rescinds the (previous) order."
After Singh withdrew the order, a large police contingent was posted in front of the SEC office at Rawdon Street in South Kolkata.
The opposition parties dubbed the move as one influenced by the ruling party that has been accused of violence and strong-arm tactics across the state, to prevent the former from filing their nomination papers.