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SC Stays Calcutta HC Order Accepting Panchayat Polls Nominations Through Electronic Messaging

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| May 10 , 2018 , 18:04 IST

The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the Calcutta HC order that had directed West Bengal state election commission to accept nominations filed for panchayat polls through electronic messaging.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud directed the State Election Commission not to notify the results of the seats where the candidates have been elected unopposed.

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The apex court also sought responses from the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the SEC plea that challenged the High Court's May 8 order to accept the nominations of those candidates named by CPI(M) who had filed their papers electronically within the stipulated time before 3 pm on April 23.

"What is worrying us is both the High Court order and 34 percent candidates getting elected unopposed," the Chief Justice said, adding that the SEC will ensure "absolute fairness" in the conduct of the May 14 elections.

Describing the High Court order as "most absurd", senior counsel Rakesh Dwivedi asked how could e-nomination be accepted as a candidate is supposed to appear before the Returning Officer concerned, file nomination papers in person, sign the nomination form, and deposit fee.

Dwivedi said that there is a procedure for further scrutiny of the nomination papers and objection raised by contesting candidates, but the High Court had directed the State Election Commission to straightway accept nominations filed through emails.

The court directed for the next hearing on July 3.