The All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) has urged the Supreme Court of India to postpone the counting of votes of Tripura’s municipal elections that were held on November 25. The AITC has alleged that Supreme Court’s orders for “free and fair municipal elections were violated” adding that “people were not allowed to vote” and sought a probe by the court-monitored panel. The counting of votes is scheduled to take place on November 28. This is the first civic poll that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) contested after coming to power in Tripura in 2018, and it refuted the charges accusing the Opposition of “trying to obtain public sympathy fearing defeat.”
On Friday, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appeared before a Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna, and said that the SC’s directions mandating deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and ensuring unhindered access to the media were not complied with. He was quoted in media reports saying, “No two battalions of CAPF, No two constables are provided. Media was to be given unhindered access. It is mayhem there,” he added there was “electronic media evidence from Times Now showing Supreme Court orders are not being followed”
Sibal has filed a fresh application seeking the Supreme Court’s intervention in connection with the Tripura Municipal elections and stated, “your Lordships yesterday directed that it is important that both electronic and print media should have unhindered access for full reporting and coverage of the election process. We have Times Now and other print media saying that the SC order has been violated! Candidates were not allowed to enter the booths! No 2 constables, no 2 battalions of CAPF were provided! There is complete mayhem!” He said “What has transpired is horrendous! We have photos of people on the ground showing that the SC order was not followed! It is very serious that is why I am mentioning! Results are to be declared! If today is not possible, please take it up tomorrow though it is a Saturday”
On Tuesday, The Supreme Court had turned down a plea made by All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) to postpone the Tripura local body elections, on account of political violence in the state. The bench was hearing a contempt petition filed by AITC and its Rajya Sabha MP Sushmita Dev alleging non-compliance on the part of Tripura authorities of the order passed by the Supreme Court on November 11 to ensure free and safe atmosphere for political campaigning for the local body elections.
On November 25, the polling day a bench comprising Justice DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and Vikram Nath had passed a slew of directions to ensure the presence of Central Armed Police Force personnel in each of the 770 polling booths in the state. The DGP and the Secretary of Home Department of Tripura were directed to review the security situation and to requisition additional battalions of CRPF if needed. It was also directed by the SC that the media should be given unhindered access to cover the election process.