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Poll panel moved on Tripura HC order

Tripura High Court

Agartala, March 17: The chief electoral officer has sought the intervention of the Election Commission into the “blatantly illegal” order passed by Tripura High Court.

The registrar general of the high court, M. Chakraborty, had conferred the status of special judicial magistrate, first class, on all sub-divisional magistrates and additional sub-divisional magistrates for March 22 and 23 when the state’s annual judicial officers’ conference would be held as part of the first anniversary celebrations of the court.

All the judicial officers of the state have been directed to attend the conference as “official duty”. The order, passed on March 12, kicked up a massive controversy because of its “illegal and controversial” nature.

“The notification for election to the West Tripura parliamentary constituency was issued on March 14 while the notification for the East Tripura parliamentary constituency will be issued on March 19. The sub-divisional magistrates and additional sub-divisional magistrates perform important and crucial duties in the election. Though we respect the order passed by the high court, we have brought the matter to the notice of the Election Commission on March 15. We are waiting for a directive from the poll panel,” said chief electoral officer Ashutosh Jindal.

Jindal refused to elaborate but sources in the election department here said the Election Commission would refer the matter to its high-powered legal advisory committee. “Our presumption is that the Election Commission’s legal advisory committee is likely to refer it to the Supreme Court, “ a source said.

As the election department here waits for an appropriate response from the Election Commission, another controversy has been created by a transfer order served on a number of teachers working as booth-level officers.

An order passed by the director of school education, Pradip Chakraborty, on March 4, altogether 23 schoolteachers officiating as booth-level officers over the past six years were transferred and released with immediate effect for joining their new places of posting in schools.

Since the election department has not released the transferred teachers from duty, they have neither been able to join their places of posting nor can they record their attendance in their schools from where they had been appointed.

In another development, the BJP state committee has filed a complaint against violation of electoral code of conduct by the authority of local Arundhati Nagar higher secondary school.

In the letter written by BJP state president Sudheendra Dasgupta,it has been pointed out that in the question paper on political science in the annual examination of class XI there is an objective question: “Which one among the following political parties is communal?” The options for answer given include the name of BJP. Dasgupta said the BJP was waiting for a reply from the poll panel.