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HC delay poser

Calcutta, June 26: Calcutta High Court today directed the state government to explain the delay in announcing elections to 17 civic bodies whose terms expire between July 18 and 31.

Justice Joymalya Bagchi also directed the municipal affairs department to file an affidavit on July 7 stating what steps the government had taken to implement its decision to convert seven of the 17 civic bodies into corporations.

State election commission lawyer L.C. Behani said the panel had sent several reminders to the government on the elections.

Citing Bengal civic election rules, Behani told the court the municipal affairs department should have announced the elections at least 30 days before the terms of the civic bodies expired.

Government pleader Ashok Banerjee told Justice Bagchi that the state had decided to convert the seven municipalities into corporations “for the sake of providing better services to people” and needed time to complete the process.

Justice Bagchi said: “The municipal affairs department will submit its affidavit on July 7 and the state election commission will give its reply on July 10. The case will come up for hearing on July 11.”