‘Deserves to be rejected’: Calcutta HC on Bengal govt’s argument blaming ECI for post-poll violence – Hindustan Times

Kolkata News

The Calcutta high court on Thursday observed that the West Bengal government cannot blame the Election Commission of India (ECI) for the alleged post-poll violence in the state, according to news agency ANI. A five-judge bench of the high court made this observation while ordering a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into allegations of rape and murder and a separate Special Investigation Team (SIT) inquiry into those of arson and loot.

Also Read | Bengal post-poll violence: CBI, SIT to probe cases, says Calcutta high court

The state government’s argument that the ECI is responsible for the violence as the police were under it due to the enforcement of the election code till May 3, 2021, deserves to be rejected outrightly,” ANI quoted the bench as saying.

This argument by the Mamata Banerjee-led government was based on the fact that during the imposition of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) in a state where elections are to be held, it is the ECI which controls the police and administration. The MCC comes into force immediately after the election schedule is announced, and is lifted on the day when election results are declared. In the case of West Bengal, it came into effect on February 26 this year, and concluded on May 2.

The Calcutta high court also observed that “constitutional obligations of the state do not get vested in the Election Commission during the process of elections.” It further said, “Civil or police administration is under ECI’s control during the election process to ensure free and fair elections. This doesn’t mean that the police stop discharging their normal duties to maintain law and order.”

The eight-phase assembly elections in the eastern state were held from March 27 to April 29. Violence reportedly broke out following the announcement of results on May 2, which saw the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) return to power for a third consecutive term, ahead of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The high court had tasked the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to probe the allegations. The NHRC submitted its report to the court on July 13. The bench reserved its order on August 3.


Source: https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/kolkata-news/deserves-to-be-rejected-calcutta-hc-on-bengal-govt-blaming-eci-for-post-poll-violence-101629365519421.html