Advantage Trinamool As Top Court Says No To E-Nomination In Bengal Polls

The Election Commission of Bengal approached the Supreme Court seeking stay on the Calcutta high court order allowing candidates to file nomination on e-mail

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Advantage Trinamool As Top Court Says No To E-Nomination In Bengal Polls

The CPM had moved Calcutta High Court, appealing that e-nominations be accepted.


New Delhi:  Candidates for panchayat polls in Bengal can't file nominations by e-mail, the Supreme Court said today, crushing the hopes of opposition candidates who have alleged terror tactics by the state's ruling Trinamool Congress. The Calcutta High Court order, which allowed them to file nomination from the safety of their homes, has been overturned by the top court in response to a challenge by the state Election Commission.

The Supreme Court said the high court order, which was hailed as one setting a precedent by a section of the legal fraternity, was "bad in law". "The High Court cannot invoke Information-Technology law in Election law," said the three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, indicating that the two laws cannot be read together.

The top court, however, expressed concerns about the high number of candidates elected unopposed in the state. The figure - which, at 34 per cent, is likely to be an all-time high -- was the result of Trinamool terror that did not allow any competition, opposition parties have alleged. At least 140 candidates belonging to the CPM were banking on filing e-nominations, an advocate representing the party told NDTV. 

"What's bothering us is 34 per cent of the candidates have been elected unopposed... Elections to be held in absolute fairness," said the judges. The bench said the state Election Commission cannot issue the notification for unopposed winners now.

The court said the election can proceed as scheduled, since no extra time will be needed for scrutiny and other procedures needed in case of e-mail nominations.

The date of the election, however, is still a grey area. The Calcutta High Court, which earlier declared May 14 as the election date, deleted the date in today's order. In place of an exact date, the order now says "whenever".

Holding the Election Commission responsible for free and fair polls, the court refused to go into the nitty-gritty of security. But it said if there is more violence than in 2013, the state will have to pay compensation. "The compensation will be cut from police salaries and property," the order said.


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