Plea in SC challenges Election Commission’s decision to hold polls in 8 phases in West Bengal

Sushree Mohanty

A petition contending the Election Commission’s decision to conduct the assembly elections in eight states in West Bengal was documented before the Supreme Court.

The petition, recorded by attorney M L Sharma, looks for the Supreme Court’s notification to the survey panel to restrain it from conducting the election in eight-stage as it disregards Article 14 (right to life) and Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution of India.

On February 26, the Election Commission declared the dates for state assembly elections to be held in West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and in Puducherry. 

While the Trinamool Congress Party-governed West Bengal will have elections conducted in eight rounds from March 27-April 29, the election in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry will be held in one stage on April 6. 

Similarly, Assam Elections will be held in a three-phase system.

The petition, which may be listed for hearing in upcoming days, likewise looks for a notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation to file a First Information Report (FIR) into the supposed reciting of religious slogans during the election process in West Bengal. 

The petition alleged that the reciting of “Jai Shri Ram” and other such religiously targeted slogans are the cause of disharmony in the state and is an offence under the Indian Penal Code and the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

“Whether using a provocative religious slogan ‘Jai Shri Ram’ is for electoral benefits as well as others is not violated S.123(3) & 125 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951,” stated one of the legal question raised in the petition.

Read more: Supreme Court rejects plea seeking directions to Centre, state & EC for free and fair assembly elections in West Bengal