Calcutta High Court Proposes Suspension of Elections in Communal Clash Zones

Mainstream
24-Apr-2024
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In a significant development, the Calcutta High Court suggested the suspension of elections in areas marred by communal clashes during the Ram Navami festival. Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam, expressing dismay over the recurring violence, hinted at drastic measures to ensure peace.

"If people can't live in peace and harmony, we will cancel the elections...That is the only way. The lessons they never learn," Chief Justice Sivagnanam remarked.

The bench, addressing recent violence in Cooch Behar and other districts during Ram Navami, underscored the need for a peaceful electoral environment. Notably, incidents in Howrah and Hooghly raised concerns despite overall calmness during the festival.

The State Police's transfer of the probe to the Crime Investigation Department (CID) was noted, with the bench awaiting vital case details for the next hearing.

"In such circumstances, there is no need to hold elections," the bench sternly stated.

Chief Justice Sivagnanam highlighted the irony of violence amid religious celebrations, emphasizing the incompatibility of such actions with the electoral process.

"We propose to make a recommendation to the ECI that when people cannot celebrate any occasion in peace even for a period of 8 hours they shall not be entitled to vote their representative...Intolerance on both sides," Chief Justice Sivagnanam asserted.

While both sides argued over the unprecedented nature of the clashes, the bench sought clarity on the instigators, adjourning the hearing until April 26.

The court's proactive stance reflects growing concerns over communal tensions impacting the electoral process, signaling a call for stringent measures to uphold peace and democratic values.

Author: Anushka Taraniya

News Writer, MIT ADT University