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26 Apr 2018

HC rejects CPM plea for online nomination

TT,Calcutta: A single-judge Calcutta High Court bench on Wednesday declined a CPM request to allow online acceptance of nominations by some of its candidates "resisted by the ruling party goons", after which the party decided to appeal.

The same bench accepted another CPM petition seeking contempt proceedings against the state election commission (SEC) and the administration for their failure to obey an earlier order to ensure "willing candidates" could hand in their nominations on April 23, the extra date fixed for the filings. The contempt plea will be heard in June.

Refusing to accept the plea for online filing, Justice Subrata Talukdar said: "The court cannot interfere in the matter as according to the existing laws, the SEC does not have provisions to accept nominations filed online."

When CPM counsel Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya pointed out that the same bench had on Tuesday asked the poll panel to accept nominations filed through WhatsApp, Justice Talukdar said: "The court had issued certain directions in this regard after the state election commission accepted the nominations filed over the WhatsApp messaging system."

At this point, poll panel secretary Nilanjan Shandilya contended that "the commission had to accept those nominations under special circumstances. "So these cases should be considered as special cases," Shandilya said.

On Tuesday, Justice Talukdar had asked the election commission not to cancel the nominations of nine candidates belonging to a resistance group protesting the setting up of a power substation in Bhangar, South 24-Parganas.

The nine candidates told the court that they had to file the papers through the messaging service as "Trinamul-led goons" had prevented them from physically submitting the nominations at Alipore in Calcutta.

"If the SEC accepts nominations filed through WhatsApp, it should accept (other) nominations filed online," Bhatacharyya said. But Justice Talukdar declined to pass any order. A CPM leader said later on Wednesday that the party would appeal before a division bench of the court on Thursday.

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