Calcutta High Court asks CPI(M) to produce documents of those who failed to file nominations

The Calcutta HC on Thursday directed petitioner Communist Party of India (Maoist) (CPI-M) to produce documents of individuals who, the party claimed, had failed to file nominations for the panchayat polls in West Bengal due to extraneous intervention.

The CPI(M) has moved the appeal before a division bench of the court, praying for allowing such candidates to file nomination for the polls through e-mail, after failing to receive a favourable order on the plea before a single bench.

On a plea by the State Election Commission (SEC) counsel that statutory provisions did not allow filing of nominations through e-mail, the division bench said the commission should not have objections to the court asking for documents from the petitioner.

The division bench of justices B Somadder and A Mukherjee said it had only asked the petitioner to submit documents in support of its claim and the SEC should not raise objections at this stage.

Claiming that intending candidates of the opposition CPI(M) were prevented by hooligans from filing nomination papers in person at the designated government offices, counsel Shamim Ahmed prayed that the court direct the commission to accept their nominations through e-mail.

The bench asked the petitioner to provide the names of the candidates who were allegedly prevented from filing nomination, documents showing that they had sent their nominations through e-mail and subsequent representations by them before the commission before the last date of nomination filing, if those were not considered.

The bench adjourned the hearing in the matter till next Monday and directed the petitioner to provide copies of the documents, if any, to the commission.

Justice Subrata Talukdar had, on April 25, disposed of the CPI(M)’s petition, observing that no orders or intervention were called for from the court at that stage.

The SEC secretary had pointed out before Justice Talukdar that the provisions of the West Bengal Panchayat Elections Act, 2003 did not provide for any scope for acceptance of nominations in the manner as claimed by the petitioner, beyond the time schedule fixed by the commission for filing the papers.

The last date for filing nominations for the three-tier panchayat polls in the state was April 23, after being extended by the court.

The SEC had announced that the polls would be held on May 14, but uncertainty prevails over the date of polling with Justice Talukdar having directed that the date announced by the commission could not be treated as final and could be considered as tentative only.

The final decision on the election date will be considered by a division bench, headed by the chief justice of the high court, Justice Talukdar had said yesterday, while passing the direction on petitions filed by political parties, challenging the SEC’s decision to hold the panchayat polls on a single day.

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