SC permits notification of uncontested seats in WB panchayat polls

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday permitted the notification of the results of about 21,000 uncontested seats in the recently held West Bengal panchayat polls, ruling out that there was no provision for the filing of e-nomination in the statute.

Of the 21,000 uncontested seats, 20,000 were won by the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC).

Taking recourse to its plenary powers under Article 142, the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, however, permitted the aggrieved candidates who could not file their nomination papers in the seats that went uncontested, to move the election tribunal within 30 days.

Both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Communist Party of India-Marxist had alleged that the ruling party people had obstructed them from filing the nomination papers.

Holding that there was no provision for e-filing of the nomination papers, Justice Chandrachud said that any challenge to an election should take place in accordance with the procedure known to law.

He said obstruction to filing nomination papers is a serious matter.

The top court verdict came on a plea by the West Bengal State Election Commission, challenging the Calcutta High Court’s May 8 order permitting e-nominations and reading the provision of the Information Technology Act into the Representation of People Act.

On July 3, the apex court had said that it would examine whether the high court, in exercise of its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution, could permit e-filing of the nomination papers by reading the provision of Information Technology Act into the Representation of People Act.