EC apprises SC about tentative schedule for by-election to Maniktala assembly constituency in Bengal


PTI, Jun 3, 2024, 3:07 PM IST

The Election Commission (EC) on Monday placed before the Supreme Court the tentative schedule for the byelection to the Maniktala assembly constituency in West Bengal.

Senior Trinamool Congress leader Sadhan Pande had won the Maniktala seat defeating BJP candidate Kalyan Chaubey, who later challenged the poll result in the Calcutta High Court alleging violence by his rival.
Pande died on February 20, 2022

The EC had refused to hold bypoll for the seat on the ground that Chaubey’s election petition remains pending before the high court.

On May 6, Chaubey had informed the apex court that he has moved an application before the high court seeking withdrawal of his petition challenging the 2021 election.

The top court was informed on May 13 that pursuant to its May 6 order the high court has dismissed the election petition as withdrawn.

The apex court had then asked the EC to submit a schedule for the byelection which shall be held at the earliest.

The EC’s counsel on Monday placed the tentative schedule before a vacation bench of Justices P K Mishra and K V Viswanathan in a sealed cover.

The poll panel’s counsel told the bench that the tentative schedule was being filed in a sealed cover as it has to be declared through a public announcement and the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) will come into force the day it is announced.

“Pursuant to our order dated May 17, 2024, the EC has filed an affidavit in a sealed cover showing the tentative schedule of by-election for assembly constituency no.167 Maniktala,” the bench noted.

“We have perused the papers submitted along with the affidavit. Since the EC is likely to proceed further in the matter declaring the election, there is no need to keep this civil appeal pending any further,” it said.

When the counsel for the appellants, the residents of Maniktala, urged the court to keep the matter pending until the poll panel announced the election schedule, the bench observed, “They (EC) have acted with great expedition and alacrity and we have to now give this a quietus”.

While disposing of the pleas, the bench observed it cannot announce the schedule for the byelection and it was refraining from saying anything about the dates.

Some residents of Maniktala had moved the Calcutta High Court seeking early holding of byelection, saying they were unrepresented in the state assembly for a long time since the demise of the sitting MLA. As the high court decided to hear the matter after a long gap, they moved the apex court in appeal.

The top court had last month said once the high court passes the order on the application for withdrawal of the petition, the EC may take a decision under section 151(A) of the Representation of the People Act which deals with filling of casual vacancies through byelections.

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