Court orders surprise checks ahead of Bengal panchayat polls

Kolkata, July 17 : The Calcutta High Court Wednesday ordered setting up of four teams for surprise visits to places where the subsequent phases of the panchayat polls are to be held to check deployment of security forces on the ground during canvassing.

The teams would include an officer each from the West Bengal government and the State Election Commission, said Justice Sanjib Banerjee.

The poll panel would keep the state government in the dark about the spots to be visited by the team before they board the vehicles, the court said, adding that the visits were needed to ensure actual deployment of forces on the ground.

The first and second phases of the rural polls were held July 11 and July 15. The next three phases are scheduled July 19, 22 and 25.

The court asked the poll panel and the state government to discuss the matter during the day and inform each other about the names of the officers.

The judge said the State government should nominate impartial, responsible officers capable of taking on-the-spot decisions.

The opposition parties told the court that the court ban on motorbike rallies during campaigning was being flouted.

The court said the committees should monitor whether its directive on motorcycle rallies was being adhered to.

On Monday, Justice Banerjee had observed that the poll panel and the state government lacked coordination.

The state government had claimed deployment of adequate and proper security forces during the campaign. However, the SEC had disagreed.

--IANS (Posted on 17-07-2013)

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