SC dismisses plea challenging appointment of special observers in Bengal polls

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New Delhi– The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea challenging the appointment of two retired bureaucrats as special observer and central police observer in West Bengal in the recently-concluded general election.

A vacation bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said the court is not willing to entertain the petition under Article 32, as polling is already over.

“The election is already over…..we don’t want to interfere,” observed the court.

Vivek Dubey was appointed as a central police observer for West Bengal and Jharkhand, and Ajay Nayak was appointed as a special observer. The petition alleged that these appointments have been made to extract favours during the general election.

Though, the court dismissed the petition, but it allowed the petitioner Ramu Mandi, an independent candidate from Barrackpore constituency in West Bengal, to move the Calcutta High Court.

The Election Commission counsel during the hearing told the court that polling in the election is already over. The counsel for Mandi contested that though the voting is over, but results are yet to be declared.

The court rebutted that in these circumstances the lawyer should move the high court concerned. Mandi’s counsel contended that due to the lawyers’ strike in Kolkata, nothing is moving. He told the court the appointment of these observers could hurt his chances as an independent candidate.

In the petition, Mandi said the appointment of retired officers cannot be justified, as there are already senior officers in service. Mandi also claimed that he fears being prejudiced by these retired officers overlooking the election process.

The petitioner said that Dubey and Nayak did not match the criteria in accordance with the Representation of People Act, as they were not serving government officers.

Barrackpore went to polls in the fifth phase of the general election. The apex court on May 6 had asked the Election Commission, West Bengal government and other respondents made in the petition to file a response to Mandi’s petition. (IANS)


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