Supreme Court dismisses BJP leaders’ plea seeking deployment of central forces for Bengal civic body polls.

The Supreme Court Friday dismissed a petition by BJP leaders seeking deployment of central forces in the 106 West Bengal municipalities going to polls on February 27.

The BJP leaders were challenging a judgment by the Calcutta High Court that left it to the State Election Commission (SEC) to decide on demands for deployment of central forces depending on the ground situation. According to news agency PTI, a Bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant told senior advocate P S Patwalia, appearing for BJP leaders Mousumi Roy and Pratap Banerjee: “Sorry. We are not inclined to entertain this petition.” Patwalia said that wide scale violence and irregularities were reported during previous phases of municipal elections and deployment of central forces will help in ensuring free and fair elections. The Calcutta High Court, in its order, had asked the SEC to hold a meeting with the State Home Secretary, Inspector General of Police and other officials concerned within 24 hours and take a decision whether central paramilitary forces need to be deployed for peaceful conduct of the elections. The court had also said that “if the State Election Commissioner takes the decision not to deploy the paramilitary forces, then he will be personally liable to ensure no violence takes place and free, fair and fearless elections take place in the municipality where paramilitary forces are not”.

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