The Supreme Court today directed the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to provide two additional companies of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) to secure every polling booth during the Tripura municipal polls.
The opposition in the state, Trinamool Congress and CPI(M) told the Bench of Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Vikram Nath that since the polling started in the morning, its candidates and supporters are allegedly not allowed to cast their votes and there is a serious breach of law and order.
The Bench directed the DGP and Tripura Home Secretary to immediately review the security arrangements during the municipal polls and make requisition to MHA for additional CAPF, if required. Each company of CAPF has 100 troops.
It also directed the Tripura State Election Commissioner (SEC), DGP and home secretary to ensure polling booths are manned by sufficient CAPF personnel to ensure free and fair elections and every polling official can take help of those personnel, if any exigency arises.
The Bench noted that since the state government has submitted before the High Court that there is no coverage of CCTV cameras in polling booths, it is allowing unhindered access to print and electronic media during the civic polls.
It clarified that CAPF personnel will remain deployed in securing the ballot boxes till the counting of votes on November 28.
On November 23, the Supreme Court had refused the TMC's plea for postponing of municipal elections in Tripura and said it is an extreme recourse and last resort to do in a democracy and passed a slew of directions to the state police to ensure free and fair elections.
The Court was hearing a plea of TMC and intervention application of CPI (M) seeking direction to the Tripura government and other officials for ensuring free and fair elections in the Municipal polls.
Polling began in the morning at 770 booths of Tripura civic polls and the counting of votes will be held on November 28.
With PTI inputs