KOLKATA: The West Bengal State Election Commission on Monday night extended the deadline for filing of nominations for the coming Panchayat elections by a day, up to 3 p.m. on Tuesday.
In a late night order, State Election Commissioner A.K. Singh said the decision was taken following complaints and deputations that many intending candidates could not file their nomination papers as they and their proposers were "obstructed" or prevented from submitting their papers.
"The commission, in exercise of power conferred upon it by proviso in sub-section (2) of section 46 of the West Bengal Panchayat Election Act, 2003, hereby extends the las day for making nominations for one day, i.e, on 10.04.2018 from 11 a.m. up to 3 p.m.," he said in the order.
Singh also referred to the Supreme Court's direction to the commission earlier in the day "to consider the grievance once made by any party or/and candidate ... and pass appropriate orders/s so that the intending candidates may not be deprived of their chance to contest the Panchayat elections".
The Supreme Court's direction came on a petition filed by the BJP for rescheduling the Panchayat elections so that its candidates could file their nomination papers and deployment of central paramilitary forces. The apex court, however, refused to interfere with the panchayat election, while, granting liberty to the aggrieved political parties and their candidates as well as independents to approach the State Election Commission for the redressal of their grievance.
Following the highest judiciary's order, the opposition political parties had approached the SEC and annexed along with their complaints some nomination papers which they allegedly could not submit before the Panchayat Returning Officers.
The BJP and the Left Front also wanted to submit nomination papers at the SEC office.
However, Singh said that cannot be done as per law, as it is supposed to be submitted before "Panchayat Returning Officers only at the SDO office and BDO office".