It’s a constitutional crisis: Bengal

The West Bengal government on Friday told the Supreme Court that the row over the recently-concluded panchayat polls in the State has led to a “constitutional crisis” since the tenure of several panchayats was over and new bodies have not been made functional. The apex court had earlier stayed the Calcutta High Court order asking the State election body to accept the nomination papers filed through e-mail for panchayat elections and directed the poll panel not to declare in the gazette the names of those candidates who had won unopposed.

Elections were held in phases for 48,650 posts in Gram Panchayats, 825 posts in Zilla Parishads and 9,217 posts in Panchayat Samitis and it has been alleged that around 34% seats were uncontested. The apex court had earlier refused to stay the poll process observing that there were a plethora of judgments which have held that once the poll process has begun, it cannot be interfered into by any court. The court was hearing an appeal filed by the State Election Commission against the High Court order asking it to accept the nomination papers filed through e-mail for the panchayat elections. The CPI(M) had claimed that many of its candidates were prevented from filing nominations by the TMC.

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