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The State Election Commission (SEC) was ordered by the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday to deploy more central paramilitary forces to monitor the impending West Bengal Panchayat elections within 24 hours.

The Court made this ruling after observing that the approximately 1,700 workers currently projected was insufficient.

The bench, which was made up of Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Uday Kumar, also believed that the SEC appeared to have purposefully disregarded the Court’s earlier rulings on the subject, despite the fact that the Supreme Court had supported those rulings.

If the election commissioner was unable to follow the court’s instructions, the court even advised them to resign.

Should we have any doubts about the Commission’s (SEC) independence? It shouldn’t be like that. Let’s be clear: you went to the highest court, and the court gave you instructions. Accept the ruling fairly. Do what is necessary; let’s not follow the rules. The [Election] Commissioner has the option to resign if following orders is extremely onerous for him. Since that position is extremely essential, His Excellency, the Governor may choose someone else, the Chief Justice added.

The SEC is supposed to be an impartial organisation, thus the court voiced its confusion as to why the commission was not reaching independent conclusions on the topic verbally.

“The Court shouldn’t lose faith in the system, and, ultimately, what is the point of holding elections if the people start losing faith in the system?” questioning from the Chief Justice.

In its order, the Court made it clear that, given the increase in the number of districts from 17 to 22, the number of persons to be deployed should be larger than the 82,000 central personnel engaged during the 2013 West Bengal Panchayat elections.

The Court also expressed worry over the fact that, despite the SEC’s request for police troops from five other states to help keep the peace, West Bengal received this request only on July 6, two days before the elections scheduled for July 8.

The Court emphasised that this would give these police officers very little time to familiarise themselves with or properly prepare for their duties.

The Court emphasised that central forces should be requisitioned for the whole electoral process, not only election day.

The bench continued, saying that deploying soldiers from other states who were just present on election day would also not provide the intended results.

The following hearing was set for Friday by the court.

The SEC was also instructed to conduct an unbiased assessment of the matter, and the Court issued a stern warning should any attempt be made to undermine its directives.

The decree was issued in response to a claim of contempt made in the case by the petitioner, who claimed that the SEC had misled the court about compliance with earlier orders.

After the Court’s orders on June 13 and June 15, the petitioner expressed worry that eight more people had died in election-related violence.

The SEC’s attorney promised the court today that if it found the current arrangements to be inadequate, the election agency would follow any instructions given by the court.

Written by- MD Arib khalique , College- Galgotia university, Semester-4th intern under Legal Vidhiya


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