Allahabad High Court rules it’s not possible for Returning Officer to reject Nomination of a Candidate for want of verification about allegations made by the Objector

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The petitioner in the case of Dharmendra Yadav v Sanghmitra Maurya on 4.4.2019 along with 24 other candidates including the returned candidate Dr Sanghmitra Maurya filed his nomination as a candidate of ‘Samajwadi Party’ in the said Parliamentary Election. As required for valid nomination, he has also appended the affidavit in Form 26 by disclosing all his Civil and Criminal antecedents for the said Parliamentary Constituency.

The returned candidate has also filed her nomination as a candidate of B.J.P. on the last date, i.e., 4.4.2019. The scrutiny of the nomination paper was held on 5.4.2019 between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Office of District Magistrate, Budaun/Returning Officer. The nomination paper of the election petitioner was found to be valid in all respects, therefore, the Returning Officer accepted his nomination. Out of 24 candidates, who have filed their nomination, only 9 nomination papers including that of the election petitioner and the returned candidate/respondent were accepted and the nomination of 16 other candidates was rejected by the District Magistrate/Returning Officer.

On 23.5.2019 which was the date of counting and declaration of result, the returned candidate/respondent had won the Parliamentary Election from the said Parliamentary Constituency and obtained 5,11,352 votes whereas the election petitioner had obtained 1,92,898 votes.

The election petitioner has challenged the election of the returned candidate/respondent on 7 grounds alleging that the election of the returned candidate/respondent is illegal and void due to improper acceptance of nomination papers which materially affected the result of the election and further the result of the election so far is concerned with the returned candidate/respondent has been materially affected by non-compliance of provisions of the Constitution of India, Representation of Peoples Act of 1951 and Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 and orders issued under the Act of 1951 and further the orders issued by the Election Commission of India exercising the power conferred by the Constitution.

Respondent’s Arguments:

Returning Officer has rightly rejected the nomination form of Sri Dinesh Kumar on 5.4.2019 on the ground of leaving blank columns in the fresh affidavit filed again by him which is clear and established from the perusal of the fresh affidavit of Dinesh Kumar annexed as Schedule-13, therefore, there is no cause of action to try the election petition.

As far as the grounds regarding the improper acceptance of nomination form of respondent-returned candidate is concerned, the election petitioner has not disclosed in the election petition as to how the result of the election has been materially affected by the acceptance of nomination form of returned candidate-respondent and, therefore, there is no cause of action for the trial of the election petition and the same is also barred by Section 81 (1) read with Section 83 of Representation of Peoples Act, 1951.

The election petitioner has also not disclosed how the cast votes including of 8000 votes and reception of 2373 postal ballot papers materially affect the result of the election when a margin of votes is 18454, hence also there is no cause of action to try the election petition and the same is barred by Section 81 (1) and 83 of the Act of 1951.

Petitioner’s Arguments:

The three applications which have been filed by the returned candidate/respondent are wholly misconceived and are liable to be rejected by this Court out rightly as the election petition discloses material facts.

The non-disclosure about the marital status in the affidavit in Form 26 entails the rejection of a nomination paper but the Returning Officer illegally accepted the same.

Court’s Decision:

When the information is given by a candidate in the affidavit filed along with the nomination paper and objections are raised thereto questioning the correctness of the information or alleging that there is non-disclosure of certain important information, it may not be possible for the returning officer at that time to conduct a detailed examination. Summary enquiry may not suffice.

It would not be possible for the Returning Officer to reject the nomination for want of verification about the allegations made by the objector. When ultimately it is proved that it was a case of non-disclosure and either the affidavit was false or it did not contain complete information leading to suppression, it can be held at that stage that the nomination was improperly accepted.

It appears that the election petitioner has challenged the election of the returned candidate-respondent on the ground that it is a case of improper acceptance of the nomination of the returned candidate-respondent.

It is well-settled law that if the election petition speaks about the material facts and concise statement on which the election petitioner relies upon are stated in the election petition, the same should not be thrown at the threshold.


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