The Supreme Court said today that postponing elections is a last and extreme recourse, as it turned down The Trinamool Congress's (TMC) plea to defer the Tripura municipal polls in view of violence in the north-eastern state.
The Mamata Banerjee-led party is trying to make inroads into the BJP-ruled state. However the ruling party is accused by the TMC of violent attacks on its workers. The TMC had urged the court to postpone the polls, which is scheduled for Thursday, so that they get more time to campaign.
Turning down the request, Justice D Y Chandrachud said, "I am very averse to postponing the elections. Postponing elections is an extreme thing in a democracy. It will set the wrong precedent."
The court asked the Tripura Police to take all steps to ensure that polling on November 25 and counting on November 28 takes place peacefully and to provide details of FIRs and arrests in cases of violence.
The court said that police have to ensure security of candidates and a "non-partisan approach" is needed, including that nobody should be "unfairly targeted". It added that the electoral process should be protected from any taint.
To assess the number of paramilitary personnel required to keep peace, the court asked top police officers of Tripura to hold a meeting with the State Election Commission.
Tripura's Director General of Police and Inspector General (Law and Order) was asked to submit an affidavit on Thursday, detailing how its directions were being implemented, to the Supreme Court. On the same day, a chart listing the FIRs filed and arrests made was also to be submitted.