High Court Proposes Postponement of Lok Sabha Election in Murshidabad’s Baharampur Constituency

In a significant development, the Calcutta High Court has recommended postponing the Lok Sabha election scheduled in the Baharampur constituency of Murshidabad district following violent incidents on Ram Navami. The court has ordered the West Bengal government to submit an affidavit and has directed the Election Commission to consider delaying the election given the current circumstances.

The petition that led to this judicial intervention sought an investigation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into the communal violence that occurred during the Ram Navami celebrations on April 17th. The disturbances reported in the Shaktipur area involved clashes and stone-pelting from the rooftops at the religious procession, which were widely circulated on social media. In response, the police had to disperse the crowd using baton charges and tear gas, resulting in several injuries.

Chief Justice T.S. Shivagnanam, presiding over the bench, made a stern remark during the hearing, stating that if people cannot live in peace and harmony, especially during an eight-hour festival, then it’s questionable whether they are fit to participate in democratic elections. He emphasized that despite the implementation of the Model Code of Conduct, if groups continue to fight, they do not deserve the right to vote for their representatives.

The High Court has now scheduled the next hearing for April 26. It has clearly stated that it will not permit Lok Sabha elections in areas affected by communal violence during the Ram Navami celebrations.

The state’s response, represented by a lawyer, mentioned that the CID has now taken over the investigation. However, the court has asked for a detailed report on the violence and indicated a strong stance against conducting elections in the troubled areas unless peace is restored. The court’s decision highlights a proactive approach in ensuring that electoral processes are not influenced or disrupted by violent conflicts, reflecting the judiciary’s commitment to uphold the sanctity of electoral integrity in turbulent times.

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