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Calcutta HC dismisses plea challenging ECI decision to prioritise Bhabanipur Bypolls


Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition on the by-election to the Bhabanipur assembly seat, ordering that polls will be held as scheduled on September 30.

The plea challenged the decision of the Election Commission of India (ECI) to prioritize the bye-elections of Bhabanipur Assembly Constituency from where the Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee is set to contest on September 30.

A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice R Bharadwaj was considering a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition moved by Sayan Banerjee, through Advocate Ankur Sharma questioning the request made by the Chief Secretary of the Government of West Bengal, to the Election Commission to hold the bye-elections in 159-Bhabanipur Assembly.

The plea contended that the priority to hold the bye-elections amidst Covid-19 pandemic is based on unreasonable, mala fide and undue influence caused by an unelected Chief Minister to interfere with the free and fair democratic process of elections.

The Bench said it was inappropriate on the part of the West Bengal chief secretary to have written such a letter in which he had appealed to the Election Commission for holding the by-election at Bhabanipur.

The Chief Secretary had requested the ECI to conduct the by-polls of the Bhabanipur Assembly Constituency on an urgent basis by contending that if the election process is not expedited then there would be a 'vacuum in the top executive' resulting in a 'constitutional crisis' in the State. Importantly, the Chief Secretary had mentioned in the letter that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee would be contesting the by-poll in Bhabanipur.

The court dismissed the PIL in which the language used to seek the by-poll was challenged.

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TAGS:Calcutta High Court ECI Bhabanipur bypoll 
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