Central forces not required for panchayat poll: WB govt
West Bengal government told Calcutta HC that there was no need for central paramilitary forces for panchayat elections in state where situation was peaceful and law and order better than other states.
Kolkata: West Bengal government on Friday told the Calcutta High Court that there was no need for central paramilitary forces for the panchayat elections in the state where situation was peaceful and law and order better than several other states.
In its affidavit in opposition to the State Election Commission`s (SEC) petition as per direction of Justice Biswanath Somadder, the state government submitted that law and order in the state was good and panchayat polls would be held peacefully.
The state said that the Maoist problem in the western districts had also been contained.
The affidavit said that funds needed for 800 companies of central paramilitary forces, as demanded by the SEC, were not available with the state.
It said that ample forces were available with the state government and if needed, police from neighbouring states would be requisitioned.
In its 41-page affidavit, the government said that it has already provided Rs 100 crore for the panchayat elections.
It stated that under Section 42 of West Bengal Panchayat Election Act, the powers of the SEC were very limited and that until the state government declared the dates for election under the section, the SEC had no authority to interfere.
The state government prayed that under section 43(1), the SEC be directed to hold the polls as per the dates announced by the government.
The state had recently informed the court that it would hold the panchayat polls on May 5 and May 8, changing the earlier dates of April 26 and April 30 announced by it.
The SEC had moved the court challenging the dates of April 26 and 30, declared by the state, and had also claimed that section 42 of West Bengal Panchayat Act was ultra vires of the Constitution.
The SEC is slated to file its affidavit by Tuesday, in reply to the state`s affidavit.