Calcutta High Court warns against polls on seats that witnessed communal violence

The court's observation came during a hearing on the violence that took place in Murshidabad on April 17 during a Ram Navami procession.
Calcutta High Court warns against polls on seats that witnessed communal violence
Jaano Junction

The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday warned that it would not allow voting in Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal which witnessed communal violence during the Ram Navami celebrations.

The observation by a bench headed by Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam came during a hearing on the violence that took place in Murshidabad on April 17 during a Ram Navami procession.

"If people can't live in peace and harmony, we will say that the Election Commission can't hold parliamentary elections in these districts. That's the only way," the bench said.

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Calcutta High Court warns against polls on seats that witnessed communal violence

"Despite the Model Code of Conduct being invoked, if two sets of people are fighting like this, they don't deserve any elected representatives," it added.

The court noted that similar processions took place in Kolkata on Ram Navami as well, but no violence was reported.

"In Kolkata also, there are 23 places where celebrations were held but no untoward incident happened. If this happens when the MCC is in place, what do the state police do? What are the central forces doing? Both couldn't contain the clashes," the bench noted..

The bench asked the state counsel about how many people have been arrested in connection with the violence-related cases.

To this, the state counsel informed the court that the CID has now taken over the investigation.

The bench replied, "We propose that we will make a recommendation to the Election Commission of India that people who can't celebrate in peace should not be allowed to participate in elections."

While the High Court did not issue any order on the deferment of elections on any seat, it said it would propose to the Election Commission that polls should be deferred in Berhampore, which falls under Murshidabad.

The High Court also directed the state police to file a report on the communal clashes.

The next hearing will take place on Friday, April 26.

Source: India Today

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