The Calcutta High Court on Thursday quashed the Bharatiya Janata Party’s plea seeking deployment of Central Armed Police Force personnel during Kolkata civic body elections that will take place on December 19, Live Law reported.
The saffron party had claimed that its candidates were being threatened and pressured into withdrawing nominations. It had also said that the West Bengal Police were not registering first information reports even though complaints were lodged.
On Monday, the Supreme Court had refused to entertain BJP’s petition, which requested that central forces should be present in the city during the civic elections. The court had instead directed the BJP to approach Calcutta High Court with its petition.
At the hearing on Thursday, advocate general SN Mookerjee said that all the complaints had been addressed and that the West Bengal government had held a meeting with the state Election Commission to ensure that the civic elections are conducted without any violence, Live Law reported.
“The assurance of the advocate general is sufficient in view of the submission made by the state Election Commission,” the court said. “The state Election Commission does not see the deployment of central forces as necessary.”
Senior advocate SK Kapur, representing the BJP, told the High Court that petitioners were apprehensive about the security measures as violence had erupted during West Bengal Assembly elections held between April and May.
At that time, the BJP and the Trinamool Congress had blamed each other for the deaths of their party workers in the violence. Various news reports had put the toll between 11 and 14, but the police did not confirm the numbers.
The court on Thursday said that additional security must be granted to the petitioners after their complaints are reviewed, Live Law reported. It also directed the police commissioner to act on the complaints and file a report before the jurisdictional magistrate.
The commissioner of police was also directed to ensure adequate security in Kolkata during voting on December 19 to ensure free and fair elections, PTI reported.
On Tuesday, the court had asked the West Bengal Election Commission to install close circuit television cameras in all polling booths.
The Calcutta High Court had on Wednesday dismissed the BJP’s plea to stop the Kolkata Municipal Corporation elections. The petition had asked the court to direct the West Bengal government and the state Election Commission to conduct all the pending municipal polls together.
The saffron party also said that the state Election Commission had announced the schedule for Kolkata Municipal Corporation elections when the petition to stay the polls was pending before the court.