The Calcutta High Court on Friday directed that all steps initiated by the West Bengal State Election Commission since appointment of its new acting commissioner Alapan Bandopadhyay would be subject to the court’s final verdict on a writ petition challenging his appointment, but turned down a plea to give any interim stay.
Justice Dipankar Datta sought affidavits from the West Bengal government and the SEC backing their observations by November 17. The petitioner Amitava Majumdar was directed to file the affidavit in opposition by November 19 and the court fixed November 23 as the next day of hearing.
Majumdar, a voter of Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation, on Thursday moved his petition challenging Bandopadhyay’s appointment by the state government in the wake of resignation by S.R. Upadhyay on Tuesday allegedly succumbing under pressure from political parties following purportedly rampant violence and irregularities in the October 3 local body polls.
Moving the petition, Majumdar’s counsel Samaraditya Pal prayed that Bandopadhyay be restrained from taking any decision relating to polling, repolling and counting votes in the municipal elections.
Pal termed the appointment of a serving government officer as acting SEC as ultra vires the constition. He argued that Bandopadhyay’s appointment would adversely hit SEC’s independence and neutrality.
Datta, who heard the matter for around seven and a half hours at a stretch past the court’s scheduled closing time for the day, refused to pass any interim order of stay.