Calcutta HC to hear a PIL seeking postponement of elections for civic bodies in West Bengal


The Calcutta high court is expected to hear a public interest litigation (PIL) later on Thursday seeking postponement of elections to four civic bodies in West Bengal amid a steady rise in Covid-19 cases. Daily Covd-19 cases shot up to 22,155 on Wednesday with Kolkata recording the maximum number of infections among all the districts. More than 7,000 fresh cases were detected in the Bengal capital.

The division bench headed by Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava had on Tuesday asked Bengal’s state election commission (SEC) to brief the court on the latest pandemic situation and numbers.

The bench had asked the Mamata Banerjee-led government to inform the court about the positivity rate and the situation of containment zones in the four municipalities where elections are scheduled to be held on January 22, apart from the percentage of the population affected in those areas.

Figures released by the state government on Wednesday revealed that while 897 containment zones and micro-containment zones have been earmarked across the state, Bengal’s overall positivity rate was 30.8%. The state’s poll panel had earlier said that elections in four municipalities - Asansol, Bidhannagar, Siliguri and Chandannagar - would be held as scheduled on January 22 and counting would take place on January 25.

But with Covid-19 cases rising alarmingly, a PIL was filed by an individual Bimal Bhattacharya, who argued that considering the escalating Covid-19 situation, the civic polls should be postponed.

The poll panel has issued some fresh guidelines, which need to be followed during campaigns and on the polling day, to check the spread of the coronavirus. Political meetings can be attended by no more than 250 people at a time.

(Except for the headline and the pictorial description, this story has not been edited by THE DEN staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)