Court orders 3-phase election

In a huge setback to the Mamata Banerjee government, the Calcutta high court on Friday ordered a three-phase panchayat polls and asked the West Bengal government to arrange Central paramilitary forces to supervise them. The state government was totally opposed to both. The court rejected the state government’s notification for a two-phase polls. The court also made it clear that the state government would have to submit a list of 400 observers to the state election commission within 24 hours.
Stung by the humiliating defeat, the state government has decided to challenge the ruling in a division bench on Monday. “The ruling is unrealistic. It is not possible to submit the list of 400 observers on Saturday, a holiday. It is also not possible to make an inventory of the number of forces within a day. It has been ordered that the state election commission will finalise the dates and phases of the polls after the state informs it about the status of the Central forces. How can we seek forces from the Centre unless we know the dates on which they would be required?” panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee said, adding that implementing the court order was not possible.
In the legal battle that was fought in the high court between the state government and the state election commission for nearly 40 days over panchayat polls, the latter definitely emerged as the winner.
Justice Biswanath Somadder’s ruling sought to impress upon the state government the primacy of state election commission so far as the conducting of panchayat polls was concerned. The court made it clear that the state government could not make announcement of the dates of the polls unilaterally.

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