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Calcutta High Court Disposes PIL after Election Commission Assures Conduct of Free & Fair Elections

Calcutta High Court Disposes PIL after Election Commission Assures Conduct of Free & Fair Elections
In the case, Bimal Kumar Chatterjee v. Election Commission of India & Ors. [WPA (P) 88 of 2021 with IA No: CAN 1 of 2021], the petitioner, Bimal Kumar Chatterjee filed a PIL against the Election Commission of India which mainly raised apprehensions on the conduct of free and fair elections of Vidhan Sabha in the state of West Bengal. The said PIL was dismissed by the Calcutta High Court on Monday (March 1, 2021) on being securely assured by the Commission that it would spare no efforts to safeguard the fairness of the poll procedure. 

The election dates were announced by the Election Commission last week. The poll will be held in 8 phases, starting from March 27, followed by April 1, April 6, April 10, April 17, April 22, April 26 and lastly April 29. It is being held for 294 seats for the Vidhan Sabha of West Bengal. The counting will be done on May 2. 

The subject matter was dealt by the Bench comprising Chief Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice Shampa Sarkar. It noted that free and fair elections are a part of every citizen’s democratic rights. Further, it is well within the realm of the Election Commission to conduct free and fair elections in the constituencies, where a notice has been issued by itself. 

It was further opined by the court:

"Guarantee in terms of the Constitution which governs the elections in the context of the constitutional backdrop in which the legislations are placed necessarily emboldens the Election Commission of India to be in complete control of the election process, thereby meaning that ensuring free and fair elections will be the topmost goal of the Election Commission of India, once it notifies the election." 

The court also went on to emphasise the duty of the Election Commission as proposed in the subject matter: 

"It is also the well-accepted proposition including the jurisdiction that the Courts will loathe interference in the matters touching elections, once a notification is issued and until the electoral process is completed and the results are declared." 

Therefore, the court disposed off the PIL after accepting the contentions of the Commission about ensuring smooth and safe polls dutifully. 


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