Calcutta HC orders Central Forces to remain in West Bengal for another 10 days

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The Court while dealing with the writ petitions ordered central forces to remain in Bengal for 10 days after the rural election process is completed to restore peace and order

The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday ordered central forces to remain in Bengal for 10 days after the rural election process is completed in order to restore peace and order.

The division bench of Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya said that the additional solicitor general had placed a copy of a fax message from the Ministry of Home Affairs to the Inspector General, BSF before them which states that 822 companies of CAPFs/SAPs/IR Bns shall remain deployed in the State of West Bengal for a period of 10 days from the date on which the results are declared.

The court was dealing with a writ petition seeking to quash the decision of the State Election Commission consequent upon the large-scale violence and electoral malpractice, which occurred during the Panchayat Elections on 8th July 2023.

The petitioner also prayed for re-polling at 698 booths. Further through the plea, the petitioner seeks a probe by an independent agency to conduct a forensic audit of the video footage of the polling booths as well as the forensic examination and audit of the ballot papers and other polling paraphernalia and submit a report before this Court.

After hearing the submissions the bench noted, “State was not able to control the violence, which has erupted in several places.”

Further, the court added that the police have not been extending a helping hand to the innocent citizens, who are being affected even after the declaration of the results. The responsibility to ensure that there is no breach of peace lies with the State Government.

Furthermore, the court added that if the State Government is not in a position to safeguard its citizens, then it is a very serious matter to be taken note of.

The court directed the State Election Commission to preserve all the records concerning the election including the CCTV footage and it shall be solely responsible for the safety and security of all the records and the video footage

Case Title: Suvendhu Adhikari & Ors vs. State of West Bengal & Ors