Calcutta High Court likely to decide fate of Bengal panchayat poll today

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The division bench of Calcutta High Court sent the case of the Panchayat Election process back to the single bench on Monday, making it more hard to complete the election process by the slated time.

A single-judge bench of Justice Subrata Talukdar will hear the arguments by both the parties again in the first half on Wednesday.

The BJP, on whose petition Justice Talukdar stayed the election process, welcomed the order.

Meanwhile, the HC was now hearing Panchayat election-related cases filed by the BJP, Left parties and Congress and counter filing from ruling TMC and State Election Commission (SEC).

Justice Talukdar today extended the stay till the next hearing, which he fixed for tomorrow at 2 pm in view of the appeal being heard by the division bench.

"The division bench has said that it will not interfere in the case as the matter is pending at the single bench".

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Appearing in-person owing to an ongoing ceasework by lawyers at the high court, SEC secretary Nilanjan Shandilya and TMC vice-president Kalyan Banerjee questioned the maintainability of the petition when an election process was on.

TMC MP and its counsel Kalyan Banerjee later said he would argue the matter on its "very maintainability" in the Single Bench as the BJP and the CPI (M) had earlier rushed to the court challenging the SEC forward roll: first extending the deadline for filing of nomination in the face of large-scale violence and then withdrawing it arguably after being bulldozed by three powerful Ministers of Mamata Banerjee Cabinet who had landed at his residence nearly in the wee hours of April 10.

Though the state BJP moved Supreme Court, the apex court referred the case to the Calcutta High Court last week.

The Congress has also been demanding a team of central observers visit to the state and take stock of the situation arising out of violence for Panchayat polls to be held on May, 1, 3 and 5.

Citing several judgements passed by the Supreme Court, he said the judge is not bound by the court's order.

Apart from the BJP, the CPI (M) and the Congress, too, have moved the high court separately, challenging the SEC's decision.

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