Ensure no political party is prevented from campaigning: SC to Tripura Govt

THE Supreme Court Thursday directed the Tripura Government to ensure that no political party is prevented from pursuing its electoral rights and from campaigning in a peaceful manner. It directed the Secretary in the state home department and the Director-General of Police(DGP) to ensure that Court’s order is duly complied with.
A three-judge bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, Surya Kant and Vikram Nath was hearing a petition filed by All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) and its Member of Parliament(MP) Sushmita Dev seeking the Court’s intervention to ensure maintenance of security and safety in the areas where the elections to a Municipal Corporation, thirteen Municipal Councils and six Nagar Panchayats in the State are scheduled on November 25.
The petitioners alleged that violence had been taking place since August 2 against the representatives of the AITC and members owning allegiance to it in the course of the election campaign. The petitioners brought to the notice of the Court several incidents of violence.
It highlighted violence that broke on October 22 when a team of AITC leaders and workers under Dev were in the midst of a “Public Contact Program”. Though an FIR was registered against this incident of violence, no arrest had been made by the police. The petitioners thus contended that that though the election process has commenced, the representatives of the AITC have been prevented from free recourse to electoral campaigning as a result of actual and threatened violence.
The Court observed that since the election process had commenced, it was the bounden obligation of the state machinery to ensure that no political party which is in the fray is prevented from pursuing its electoral rights in accordance with law and from campaigning in a peaceful and orderly manner.
As regards the plea for individual security, the apex court directed the concerned Superintendents of Police(SP) who are impleaded as respondents to take a decision having regard to the threat perception with reference to each case and area and take necessary action for the maintenance and provision of security, as required.
It directed the state government to file an affidavit explaining the steps being taken in pursuance of the present order and even otherwise to ensure that the process of election during the ensuing municipal elections in Tripura remains free and fair.
Earlier, the petitioner had approached the high court seeking similar relief. However, the hearing could not take place as the High Court was in the midst of its recess.
Click here to read the order