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Bharatiya Janata Party, West Bengal Vs. State of West Bengal and Ors. - (Supreme Court) (09 Apr 2018)

Once the election process has been set in motion, the Court ought not to interfere



By the present writ petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, the Petitioner seeks a writ of mandamus to direct the West Bengal State Election Commission-Respondent No. 6 to issue nomination forms to the candidates of the Petitioner so as to enable them to file their nomination in the ensuing upcoming panchayat elections as also to take immediate steps to make arrangements for submission of nomination papers through email and to provide police protection to the candidates of the Petitioner so as to enable them to collect and deposit the nomination forms for the purpose of contesting the panchayat elections already notified and also direct the Respondents Nos. 1 to 3 to call for Central Para-Military Forces to maintain the law and order during the conduct of the panchayat elections in the State of West Bengal.

It is not in dispute that, the West Bengal State Election Commission had issued notifications 2nd April, 2018 for holding panchayat elections in the State of West Bengal. Thus, the election process has been set into motion. Present Court, in the case of Bodula Krishnaiah held that, once the election process has been set in motion, the Court ought not to interfere. However, the fact remains that, according to the newspaper reports filed along with writ petition which has been referred to by the Learned Senior Counsel for the Petitioner incidence of violence has taken place, when the candidates have gone to obtain and file their nomination papers. This also stands fortified with the notification dated 5th April, 2018 issued by the West Bengal State Election Commission where the State Election Commission had provided additional venue for filing the nomination papers.

The West Bengal Panchayat Elections Act, 2003 has empowered the State Election Commissioner to pass appropriate orders in relation to any grievance, when made by any political party, or/and their individual candidate including any independent candidate with regard to any matter relating to and arising out of the election and election process. It is, therefore, essentially for the State Election Commissioner to consider the grievance once made by any party or/and candidate as the case may be and pass appropriate order/s keeping in view the nature of grievance made and relevant factors concerning the election and its process.

The Supreme Court grants liberty to all political parties, their candidates, including any independent candidate/s proposing to contest the election in question, to approach the State Election Commissioner with their any individual or/and collective grievance. If any such grievances are made by any political parties or/and any candidate/s in writing then needless to say, the State Election Commissioner would ensure disposal of any such grievance so made by the party concerned strictly in accordance with law forthwith.

The Supreme Court hopes and trusts that in order to ensure fair and free election to the panchayats, the State Election Commission shall take appropriate steps to remove the apprehensions of the Petitioner and/or intending candidates and they may not be deprived of their chance to contest the panchayat elections. The writ petition disposed off.

Relevant : Boddula Krishnaiah and Anr. v. State Election Commissioner, A.P. and Ors. MANU/SC/0417/1996: (1996) 3 SCC 416


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