The Allahabad High Court while giving directions to the Police authorities and the Election Commission regarding the facilitation of filing of the nomination papers of the petitioner stated that a free and fair election is one of the basic features of the Constitution of India.
Facts of the Case
The petitioner is a member of the Block Development Committee and he intended to contest the election to the Block Pramukh of the Development Block. However, the local district and police administration (respondent) prevented the petitioner from filing his nomination papers. Aggrieved, the petitioner filed a writ petition.
Arguments before the court
The Learned Counsel appearing for the petitioner submitted that he had the instructions to say that the petitioner was illegally detained by the local District and Police Administration of District Pratapgarh. Furthermore, it was submitted that it was not only the petitioner who was detained, even his family members including his son, were also detained, with the view to prevent the petitioner from participating in the election.
The Learned Additional Chief Standing Counsel after receiving instructions from the Deputy Inspector General of Police submitted that the petitioner was never detained by the police authorities and that his son was released after furnishing a bond. It was further submitted that the petitioner’s present location had been found to be near his residence. Additionally, it was stated that “there was no interference by the police administration or by any other district authorities so far as his free movement is concerned.”
Observations by the Allahabad High Court
The Court observed that “a free and fair election to democratic institutions of the country is one of the basic features of our Constitution. Any attempt from any corner including State authorities or district administration to damage the system of free and fair poll is not conductive to democratic functioning of the State.”
The Court directed the respondents to file a counter affidavit within a period of four weeks. A week’s time was also granted to the Learned Counsel appearing for the petitioner to file a rejoinder affidavit.
The Court stated that the adjudication pertaining to the allegations and counter-allegations made by the parties regarding the detention of the petitioner would be done once the affidavits would be filed by the respondents. Taking note of the fact that the last day for filing of nomination papers was July 8th 2021, the Court felt the need to issue directions to facilitate the filing of the nomination papers by the petitioner. Hence, the respondents were directed to facilitate the filing of nomination papers on July 8th 2021 itself. According, the learned Counsel appearing for the election Commission was also informed regarding the filing of nomination papers.