Consider deferring civic polls by 4 to 6 weeks: HC tells SEC
KOLKATA: Calcutta High Court (HC) has urged the State Election Commission (SEC) to consider postponing election in four civic bodies by 4 to 6 weeks in view of the sharp rise in Covid cases.
The SEC is to inform the High Court within 48 hours about its decision. Sourav Das, Chief Electoral Officer, will hold a meeting with senior officials of the state Disaster Management department and Chief Secretary HK Diwedi on Saturday to take a decision in the matter.
Elections in four civic bodies, namely, Asansol, Bidhannanagr, Chandannagar and Siliguri, are scheduled to be held on January 22. The SEC has given guidelines for the political parties and candidates, who are taking part in the election.
A division bench, headed by Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Ajoy Kumar Mukherjee, was adjudicating a Public Interest Litigation seeking postponement of the election in four civic bodies in view of sharp rise in the number of Covid cases.
On Thursday, the Court reserved judgement and took a report filed by the State Election Commission and the State Government, detailing Covid-19 situation in the four civic bodies.
Disposing the case, the Court observed: "We dispose of the present petition with a direction to the State Election Commission to consider the galloping speed with which the Covid cases are increasing and also to take into account the issue if holding of elections in such a situation will be in the public interest and if free and fair elections will be possible on the dates notified and take a decision in respect of the postponement of date of elections of aforesaid four municipal corporations for a short period of 4 to 6 weeks. The Respondent, the State Election Commission, is directed to take a decision in this regard within a period of 48 hours."