New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to modify its order directing holding panchayat elections in West Bengal in five phases starting on July 11, after hearing a batch of pleas for rescheduling the poll dates in view of the Muslim holy month, Ramadan.

The apex court bench of Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that the court could not reschedule the elections owing to constitutional mandate and unavailability of security forces before July 11.

Dismissing the plea that holding the polls in the month of Ramadan could adversely affect the participation of one-third of the state's Muslim population, the court said that it weighed all these options before passing its June 28 order with regard to holding panchayat polls in West Bengal. The court has asked the West Bengal government to issue notification on the elections in pursuance to its order.


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