Bombay High Court Says Pleas Against the Rejection of Nomination Before the Polls Is Not Maintainable

Bombay High Court on Wednesday held that a candidate cannot challenge his nomination by filing a writ petition before a court prior to the polls after his nominations have already been rejected by the Returning Officer (RO) for the Panchayat elections of January 15.

The HC held that such candidates can cause hindrance in the election of the winning candidate arguing that their nomination forms were rejected and moving to the court after the poll results have been declared.

A two-judge bench referred a case of whether challenge through filing a writ plea in court, seeking relief by setting aside RO’s rejection order is maintainable to a bench comprising Justices A.S Gadkari, Dipankar Dutta, and GS Kulkarni.

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On January 4th, a division bench of CJ Datta and Justice Kulkarni referred the pleas by 11 people from Solapur district to a Full Bench. The petitioners wanted to contest in gram panchayat elections but were aggrieved as their nominations were rejected by the RO.

The petitioners argued that such orders were illegal and arbitrary and should be quashed immediately. They further asked to direct the State Election Commissioner to cancel the Gram Panchayat elections as they are not being held in accordance with the Maharashtra Village Panchayat Act 1958.

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The Court, however, held that such a petition cannot be entertained as it is clearly stated in Article 243 that no election to Panchayat can be questioned except for if an election petition is presented to such authority.

The Court further said that if this is such a big issue and people feel the need for provisions related to appeal against the rejection by RO, it is the legislature’s duty to make amends in the Maharashtra Village Panchayat Act 1958. The Court reasoned its statement and said that the legislature is the pillar that expresses the will of people and the changes that the legislature can make cannot be done by the Judiciary.

The Full Bench held that the petitions seeking the cancellation of elections due to the rejection of nomination papers prior to the polls is not maintainable at this point and such is the correct view of the law.


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