Why did Calcutta High Court prohibit Lok Sabha elections where violence broke out on Ram Navami?

The court lamented the flouting of the electoral code of conduct across the nation and underscored that communities engaged in internal conflict forfeit their electoral privileges.

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Satyam Singh
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After the culmination of the initial phase of Lok Sabha elections, tensions between political factions have surged. Concurrently, the Calcutta High Court has issued a stern warning against conducting general elections in constituencies marred by communal strife this year. 

Today, the High Court emphasized that if citizens are unable to observe even 8 hours of peace, it's prudent for the Election Commission to reconsider permitting elections in such areas. The court lamented the flouting of the electoral code of conduct across the nation and underscored that communities engaged in internal conflict forfeit their electoral privileges.

High Court response to Ram Navami incidents

The Calcutta High Court has taken cognizance of the recent spate of violence linked to Ram Navami festivities, occurring this Tuesday. Consequently, the court has mooted a proposal to the Election Commission advocating the postponement of elections in the Baharampur parliamentary constituency.

What has Chief Justice TS Sivagananam said? 

Chief Justice TS Sivagananam, during the proceedings, asserted, "We will recommend to the Election Commission that if people cannot peacefully celebrate a festival for a few hours, they should not be entrusted with the right to elect parliamentary candidates." He advocated for the deferment of elections under such circumstances.

Cautionary remarks on festive violence

In the courtroom discourse, it was highlighted that seemingly minor incidents have the potential to escalate into major conflicts. Often, these incidents are not premeditated but occur due to heightened emotions during festivals. The court emphasized that intolerance persists on both sides, urging for a cautious approach.

Ram Navami violence in West Bengal

Ram Navami, celebrated nationwide on April 17, witnessed outbreaks of violence in several parts of West Bengal. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee held the Election Commission accountable for sporadic clashes during Ram Navami processions in Murshidabad. Incidents of violence were reported, leaving some individuals injured. Similar incidents occurred in Howrah and Hooghly districts last year during Ram Navami processions.

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