By bappaditya paul
EASTERN ZONAL BENCH of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday issued a notice to the West Bengal State Election Commission (SEC) over the latter’s recent order allowing use of microphones in civic poll campaigns amid the ongoing exam season.
NGT has asked the SEC to represent itself for a hearing on 10 April. NGT eastern zonal bench is headquartered at the Finance Centre building at Rajarhat New Town in Kolkata.
The move comes following a petition filed by Kolkata based environment activist Subhash Dutta, who has challenged the poll panel’s jurisdiction in granting such a relaxation on microphone use.
The Bengal poll panel had on 1 April issued an order allowing the use of microphones for poll campaigns, albeit with a few riders.
The order that became effective from 2 April, said that political parties and poll candidates were allowed to use microphones from 3 pm to 10 pm on weekdays and from 10 am to 10 pm on holidays. It also stated that mikes could not be used within 200 metres from an educational institution.
Reacting to the NGT notice, Bengal state election commissioner S R Upadhaya said that they had granted the relaxation following repeated demands from all political parties.
“Besides, the order calrified that all orders / guidelines issued by courts in the past shall have to be adhered to and a permission from the local police would be mandatory. Now if an appropriate authority says that it cannot be, we shall abide by the decision,” Mr Upadhaya said.