Kolkata: Despite not giving a final order, the Calcutta High Court, on Monday, voiced for extension of the nomination period and postponing the July 8 panchayat polls in West Bengal.
Observing that just five days of nomination period is too short a time for the purpose, a division of bench of the Calcutta High Court’s Chief Justice T.S. Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmany Bhattacharya observed that the nomination period should be extended and if that is done, the polling date will also have to be postponed.
However, the counsel for the West Bengal State Election Commission informed the court that a decision on this count cannot be taken without the state government’s approval.
On Monday, the state election commission’s counsel submitted a report to the court where it proposed the extension of nomination day by another day till June 16. The commission has also proposed the extension of the nomination period each day by two hours.
The commission’s council said that this extension will be enough going by the past records of nomination period in previous years.
The division bench also advised the commission to consider deployment of central armed forces personnel for the polling and counting. The division bench’s logic was that if the majority of the state police personnel are deployed on poll security duty there might be a shortage of security personnel to maintain regular law & order.
It also directed the commission not to use contractual state government employees on poll-related duties or civic volunteers for poll security- related duties. “Remember that civic volunteers are not police personnel. They are just meant to provide some assistance to regular police personnel,” Justice Sivagnanam observed.
“Remember you are a neutral agency. The people should have faith in you. The commission should be aware of its own authorities. Your role is extremely important,” Justice Sivagnanam observed.
The commission informed the court that so far around 10,000 nominations have been filed for the rural civic body polls.