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Calcutta High Court Dissolves Contempt Petition Against SEC On Civic Polls Postponement

Dismissing the petition, the bench said, "We are of the opinion that there is no deliberate non-compliance or violation of the order of this court by the respondents herein, hence no case for initiating the contempt proceedings is made out."  

Calcutta High Court Dissolves Contempt Petition Against SEC On Civic Polls Postponement
Calcutta High Court Dissolves Contempt Petition Against SEC On Civic Polls Postponement File Photo

Calcutta High Court dismissed a contempt petition against the State Election Commission (SEC), which claimed that the poll body disobeyed an order of the court to postpone elections to four municipal corporations by four to six weeks.

In its order which was uploaded in the high court website on Wednesday, a division bench presided over by Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava observed that it was only a suggestion to the SEC, and not an order, to consider whether the polls can be postponed by such time in view of the surge in Covid-19 cases in the state.  

Alleging non-compliance of the court's order of January 13, petitioner Bimal Bhattacharya stated that a petition had been moved before this division bench, also comprising Justice R Bharadwaj, seeking postponement of election to municipal corporations of Bidhannagar, Asansol, Siliguri and Chandannagar which were to be held on January 22 citing a rapid increase in Covid-19 infections in West Bengal. The SEC had thereafter postponed the election date to the four municipal corporations to February 12. 

Petitioner's lawyer Bikash Bhattacharya claimed during the hearing, which was concluded on Monday, that the SEC was directed to postpone the elections for four to six weeks and that they have violated the order of this court by postponing the elections only for three weeks.

In the order issued on Monday, the bench said that the court had not issued any positive direction to postpone the elections for a particular period of time.

"The period of 4 to 6 weeks mentioned in the order was only suggestive leaving it up to the State Election Commission to take a decision in this regard within a time bound period," the bench observed. 

( With PTI Inputs)

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