‘If It Is Difficult For The Election Commissioner To Take Orders, He May Step Down’: Calcutta High Court Warns State Election Commission

Swarajya Staff

Jun 22, 2023, 10:15 AM | Updated 11:09 AM IST

The Calcutta High Court
The Calcutta High Court

On Wednesday (22 June), the Calcutta High Court took note of the lethargic behaviour of the State Election Commission in deployment of Central Forces.

It directed it to increase the proposed count of the Central Paramilitary forces — slated to be deployed for overseeing the upcoming panchayat elections in West Bengal.

At present only about 1,700 personnel have been engaged, which was found to be inadequate by the bench comprising of the Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Uday Kumar.

The bench mentioned that the State Election Commission has deliberately not complied with the previous orders which was also upheld by the Supreme Court. The court came down heavily on the Election Commissioner suggesting him to resign if he cannot comply with the directions of the court.

Acknowledging the indifferent behaviour of the Election Commissioner, the court went on to doubt the independence of the Commission and said that if the commissioner cannot take directions of the court, the Governor may appoint someone else considering the post should be held by an independent person.

The court orally remarked that the State Election Commission has failed to take independent decision in the present matter.

In the previous order it was made clear that the number of personnel should be more than the 82,000 personnel engaged during the 2013 panchayat polls, considering the increase in number of voters and districts.

The court also stated that if the forces are deployed right before the election date there would be hardly any time for the officers to get acclimatised to carry out their task efficiently. The forces are required to cover the entire election process and not just the polling date.

Lastly the court warned the Election Commissioner of adverse consequences if any of the directions are not complied with.

Get Swarajya in your inbox.