Kolkata, Apr 12: The Calcutta High Court on Thursday asked the State Election Commission to halt all procedures related to the West Bengal Panchayat Elections 2018 till April 16. The court directed the Election Commission to file a factual report in the court, adding that until then all election procedures should be stopped including nomination withdrawal and scrutiny till April 16. Meanwhile, the court also fined Bharatiya Janata Party Rs 5 lakh over a complaint filed by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) accusing the party of “hiding facts”.

The Supreme Court had on Wednesday asked the BJP to approach the Calcutta High Court with its grievances over the deadline for filing of nominations for the West Bengal Panchayat polls. The BJP had moved apex court on Tuesday against State Election Commission’s decision to revoke the order that extended nomination dates for Panchayat elections till April 10.

The BJP had said in its plea that it was seeking protection of the right of its candidates to enable them to collect and deposit the nomination forms and participate in the panchayat elections, scheduled to be held on May 1, May 3 and May 5. It had said the state poll panel had on Monday announced that the last date of for the nominations has been extended by one day, while acknowledging the fact that several complaints were received regarding candidates being obstructed from filing nominations.

The party said that “in absolute colourable exercise of powers and in utter disregard to the observations of this court suddenly at around 11 PM on April 10, the WB State Election Commission has passed a fresh order thereby recalling and rescinding the previous order dated April 9, 2018”.

The West Bengal Panchayat polls are scheduled to be held in three phases. While voting will take place on May 1, 3 and 5, the counting of votes would be take place on May 8.