SC refuses to accept Adhikari’s plea challenging Calcutta HC order

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to entertain BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari’s plea challenging the Calcutta High Court order rejecting his petition against two notifications and an issue relating to the computation of population for the purpose of reservation of seats for SC/ST and backward classes in panchayat polls in West Bengal.

A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice J B Pardiwala said that they will not interfere with the Calcutta High Court order. Senior Advocate PS Patwalia and advocate-on-record Aditya Sharma represented the petitioner in the matter.

Suvendu Adhikari, in his special leave petition, challenged the order dated 28 March, 2023, passed by the High Court at Calcutta and said that, despite observing that they found substance in the argument of the counsel for the petitioner, the HC declined to interfere and left it open to the respondent Election Commission to consider the effect of the anomaly noted above in arriving at the proportion of SC/ST/BC population on the basis of the population of SC/ST arrived at by adding decadal growth of 7.5 percent to the 2011 census and calculation of the population of Backward Classes on the basis of a household survey in August 2022.

In his plea, Suvendu Adhikari alleged that the State Election Commission, in cahoots with the State administration, had favoured the present-day ruling dispensation in the forthcoming gram Panchayat Elections by manipulating the data based on which various gram panchayats are categorised as reserved for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, and other backward classes.

The petitioner said, “The notifications issued by the State Election Commission, dated 29 July, 2022, and 2 August, 2022 (the impugned notifications), outlining the directives for conducting a state-wide survey to obtain relevant information about the backward classes at the level of gram panchayat constituencies for delimitation purposes, are bad and ought to be quashed.”

The petitioner said that the decision of the state to use the 2011 census figure for the SC/ST population and a survey in 2022 for the backward classes is deemed defective because it employs two different methods to ascertain the proportion of each population.

The Calcutta High Court in March rejected West Bengal’s leader of the opposition, Suvendu Adhikari,’s plea related to elections to Gram Panchayats. Suvendu Adhikari has challenged the notifications dated 29 July, 2022, and 2 August, 2022, and the issue relating to the computation of population for the purpose of reservation of seats for SC/ST and backward classes.

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