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Poll panel may challenge order on use of private cars

Staff Reporter

“No private car can be acquired by government for election purpose”

Kolkata: With the Calcutta High Court passing an order to the effect that no private car can be acquired by the State administration for election purpose, the Election Commission said on Thursday that it would consult legal experts on the order and appeal against it, if necessary.

Besides barring acquisition of private cars, the court has asked the government agencies to return all private cars acquired so far following several petitions filed by individuals as well as private companies stating that private cars are being randomly acquired by the government for poll purpose.

The Election Commission, however, claimed that Section 160 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, empowers the government agencies to requisition vehicles – both private and commercial.

Order to be examined

West Bengal's Additional Chief Electoral Officer N.K. Sahana said here that legal experts of the Commission will examine the order and take the decision whether or not to challenge it in a court of law.

Meanwhile, the Commission on Thursday issued the notification for the first phase of the State's Assembly elections to be held in 54 constituencies of north Bengal on April 18.

Mr. Sahana said that the last date of filing nominations in six districts – Malda, Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur, Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling – is March 31 and the last date for withdrawal of candidature is April 4.

Four candidates filed their nominations on the first day.

The State's Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Gupta left for New Delhi later in the day to attend a high-level meeting scheduled on Friday to review the security aspect in four States and a Union Territory that will be going to polls.

Apart from the Chief Secretaries, Home Secretaries, Director Generals of Police and Chief Electoral Officers of the four States and the Union Territory, senior administrative officials of the neighbouring States to the poll-bound ones have also been summoned by the Election Commission.

Mr. Sahana said that in an earlier meeting with the Border Security Force, the Commission had asked the BSF to seal the international border with Bangladesh two days ahead of the election dates.

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