Postponing elections is a last and extreme recourse, the Supreme Court said today as it turned down the Trinamool Congress’s plea to defer the Tripura municipal polls in view of violence in the Northeastern state.
The Mamata Banerjee-led party, which is trying to make inroads into the BJP-ruled state, has accused the ruling party of violent attacks on its workers. Arguing that the law and order situation in Tripura has deteriorated, the Trinamool had urged the court to postpone the polls — scheduled for Thursday — so that they get more time to campaign.
“I am very averse to postponing the elections. Postponing elections is an extreme thing in a democracy. It will set the wrong precedent,” Justice D Y Chandrachud said, turning down the request.
The court asked Tripura Police to take all steps to ensure that polling on November 25 and counting on November 28 takes place peacefully.
The court also asked police to provide details of FIRs and arrests in cases of violence.
Police have to ensure security of candidates and a “non-partisan approach” is needed, the court said, adding that nobody should be “unfairly targeted”. The electoral process should be protected from any taint, it added.
The court asked top police officers of Tripura to hold a meeting with the State Election Commission to assess the number of paramilitary personnel required to keep peace. If required, more personnel should be provided to maintain law and order situation, the court said.
The Supreme Court has asked Tripura’s Director General of Police and Inspector General (Law and Order) to submit an affidavit on Thursday, detailing how its directions are being implemented. A chart listing the FIRs filed and arrests made is also to be submitted on the same day.