M A I N   N E W S

Wrong Rejection of Nomination Papers
Seek relief from Election Tribunal: HC
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 17
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has, in a significant judgment, held an “election petition is a far more effective relief” in case of wrong rejection of nomination papers.

The ruling, by a High Court Division Bench of Justice K.S. Garewal and Justice Daya Chaudhary, comes on a bunch of petitions challenging the rejection of nomination papers for elections to panchayat samitis and zila parishads. The court has held: It is unfortunate that some papers have been wrongly rejected, but law provides relief to the candidate through an election petition before the Election Tribunal, which may declare the election to be altogether void on the ground of wrong rejection of the nomination papers.

Referring to Section 41 of the Election Act on scrutiny of nomination papers, the Bench held: “Sub Section (4) lays down that the returning officer shall not reject nomination paper on any ground which is not of substantial character.

“The returning officers are expected to know the provisions of the Election Act, the Panchayati Raj Act and the Election Rules. They are supposed to be properly trained and briefed in the onerous task of conducting elections. But, sometimes they may be remiss in their duties, which may lead to wrong rejection of nomination papers.

Holding that in such cases an election petition was a far more effective relief, the Bench ruled: Our reason for saying this is that all parties are represented before the tribunal, documents are presented and statements of witnesses are recorded there.

In their detailed order, the judges held: It was the arch conservative Winston Churchill who saw an election as a small booth which a small man enters with a pencil to put a mark on a piece of paper. As a proud, independent and liberal democracy we too cherish free, fair and impartial elections because that is how true democracy is born.

The judges added: “It is true that the Full Bench in Prithvi Raj’s case has observed that the power of the High Court under Article 226 is available, where exercise of the said power sub-serves the progress of the election, facilitates its completion and is exercised to further the election process.

“However, the Full Bench in paragraph 26 aptly summed up the legal position that an election can only be challenged through an election petition, though the High Court under Article 226 is empowered to act in order to facilitate the election and further the election process.

“We do not think that in the present case any direction by us would further the progress of the election. We may observe that the petitioners may ultimately file election petitions before the Election Tribunal and this court may at some later stage also have an occasion to consider the conduct of the elections and particularly that of the returning officer but at the present intermediate stage we are unable to grant any relief to the petitioners. In view of this, we find no merit in these petitions and the same are dismissed”.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |