A plea challenging the Election Commission’s decision to conduct assembly elections over eight phases in West Bengal was filed in the Supreme Court on Monday. The plea, filed by lawyer M L Sharma, seeks the apex court’s direction to the poll panel to stop it from conducting eight-phase elections in the state as it violates Article 14 (right to life) and Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution.
On February 26, the Election Commission announced the schedule for assembly elections to be held in West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and in Puducherry. While the Trinamool Congress Party-led West Bengal will have elections over eight rounds from March 27-April 29, polling in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry will be held in one phase on April 6 and in Assam over three phases.
The plea, which may come up for hearing in few days, also seeks a direction to the CBI to register an FIR into the alleged chanting of religious slogans during electioneering in West Bengal.
The chanting of “Jai Shri Ram, other religious slogans are creating disharmony” and is an offence under the IPC and the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the plea said. “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,” reads the legal question raised in the plea.