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The Supreme Court has ordered the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to deploy two additional companies of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) in Tripura “as expeditiously as possible”.

Voting is underway for the civic body polls in Tripura and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) has already raised issues of security lapses.

To ensure fair elections, the top court also directed the SEC, DGP and Home Secretary to ensure that every polling booth is manned by a sufficient strength of CAPF personnel. The court directed the DGP and Home Secretary to immediately review if there is any additional requirement for deployment and communicate it to the MHA.

Taking note of the absence of CCTV cameras, the Supreme Court also ordered unhindered access to the media to cover the polling.

The court said, “We also order and direct that in the absence of CCTV cameras, both electronic and print media should be given unhindered access for complete coverage of the polling process.”

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court refused the TMC’s plea to postpone the municipal elections and called it 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 directed reassessment of deployment of Para-Military forces in critical areas and warned of coercive action if the directives are not followed scrupulously.

It also sought details of the FIRs registered in view of violent incidents during campaigning and the arrests made in those cases.

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Vikram Nath said, “Postponing election is a matter of last and extreme recourse. It is our considered view that short of postponing of elections, the apprehensions which have been expressed on behalf of the petitioners by the counsels can be suitably addressed by issuing peremptory directions to the State of Tripura, so as to ensure that the remaining phases of the Municipal elections take place in peaceful and orderly manner.”

The top court was hearing a plea of TMC seeking contempt action against the Tripura government and other officials for failing to curtail violent incidents against opposition parties in the run up to the upcoming Municipal polls.

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