Calcutta HC directs poll panel to preserve documents, videos regarding Nandigram poll matter

·2-min read
Representative image
Representative image

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], July 14 (ANI): The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday directed the Election Commission (EC) to preserve all documents, election papers, devices and video recordings related to the 2021 West Bengal Assembly election while hearing the plea of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee challenging the Nandigram constituency results.

"Pending the decision of this case, all documents, video recordings, machines connected with the election which is under challenge in this court will be preserved. Order Copy to be served to EC & Returning officer," said the Court.

Hearing the case Justice Shampa Sarkar said, "Election petition doesn't suffer from any defect. Matter will be heard again on 12 August 2021."

Notably, the matter was allotted to the Bench of Justice Sampa Sarkar of Calcutta High Court on Tuesday after Justice Kausik Chanda recused himself from the hearing of the petition filed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over Nandigram poll results.

Soon after the hearing, the Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari on Wednesday filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking transfer of the Nandigram poll matters case pending in Calcutta High Court to any other High Court.

In the petition filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Suvendu Adhikari, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been made as the respondent in the matter. On July 7, the Calcutta High Court imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for putting the judiciary in a bad light.

The Calcutta High Court's single bench led by Justice Kausik Chanda had passed the order while hearing Mamata Banerjee's election petition challenging Adhikari's victory from the Nandigram Constituency in the recent state assembly polls. At the outset of the argument, Justice Chanda refused to withdraw the case but later changed his decision to say that he was recused from the case. The West Bengal Chief Minister had earlier moved an application to change the judge in the case and alleged that Justice Chanda has connections with BJP.

The Election Commission had declared BJP's Suvendu Adhikari the winner in the fiercely contested election for the Nandigram constituency. After her defeat in Nandigram, Banerjee alleged that the Returning Officer of the Assembly seat had said he was threatened against recounting of votes.

Despite Banerjee losing the seat to Adhikari, who was once her close aide, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) registered a landslide victory in polls winning 213 seats in the 294-member West Bengal assembly. The BJP lost the polls but emerged as the second-largest party with 77 seats.

The TMC even wrote to the Chief Electoral Officer, West Bengal seeking "immediate re-counting of votes and postal ballots" in the Nandigram constituency, but recounting was refused for reasons unknown.

"Such refusal is bad in law... We demand an immediate recounting of Nandigram AC 210 to preserve the sanctity of the electoral process," the TMC had said in a letter to the CEO. (ANI)

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