#Kolkata: Does the State Election Commission have the constitutional responsibility for 111 municipalities? How late will it be for all municipal elections? Why can’t 15,000 EVMs be voted on at least 2 points? The State Election Commission’s argument was somewhat shaken by Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava’s questioning on Wednesday in the BJP’s municipal case. A division bench of Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj directed the state and state election commissions to inform the state and state election commissions by Monday about the voting plan of all the expired municipalities and the minimum number of points to be voted.
The BJP lawyer asked a sharp question at the outset seeking dismissal of the Kolkata Pre-Vote (KMC) notification. He said the state election commission in the division bench of the chief justice was saying one thing and doing another. Earlier in the day, the High Court and the Supreme Court had repeatedly directed for speedy pre-voting in multiple pre-voting cases. The State Election Commission is responsible for conducting the elections. The commission is not for any political purpose. Only Calcutta pre-poll has been declared for the benefit of the ruling party of the state. The commission has contradicted the statement given in the court, the lawyer Pinki Anand and Bilbadal Bhattacharya questioned on behalf of the public interest litigant.
After this, the Chief Justice wants to know from the commission, at what point does the commission want to hold 111 pre-votes in the state? They know how many EVMs the Commission has, with that EVM, at what minimum number of votes can be cast? The commission replied that after the end of the Calcutta pre-poll, the commission will be able to state the minimum number of points that can be cast in 111 municipalities.
Why can’t the commission inform within 24 hours? And how long will the commission take to complete all the pre-polls? Isn’t it the responsibility of the commission to become a constitutionally independent body and vote at the appointed time? After that the commission has to face all such questions. The Chief Justice further remarked that the commission has more than half of the EVMs required to conduct all the pre-polls together. If so, why can’t the commission say the minimum number of points to vote.
Commenting on the Chief Justice’s lawyer Jayant Mitra, the commission said in its affidavit that 30173 EVMs are required for 112 municipal votes at a time. The State Election Commission has 156 EVMs in operation. Why wouldn’t it be possible to vote in at least two rounds of the municipality? Doesn’t the commission think that a pre-vote should be held now?
Attorney General SN Mukherjee told the court, “We have to cast our vote keeping in mind EVM, voter turnout, infrastructure and vaccination rate. We are ready to help the commission in any way we can. We have a deadline of April to hold elections. “Every municipality is unique. The term of all of them has not expired at the same time. It is not an assembly election where all the votes have to be declared together. There is no constitutional obligation to hold all the pre-votes together.”