The Bombay High Court on Thursday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking election on the same date in Satara and Mumbai to avoid double voting. The PIL was filed on the background of NCP leader Sharad Pawar's comment asking daily wage labourers hailing from Satara to wipe off ink after the elections there, so that they could vote in Mumbai again.
But while dismissing the petition, the court also asked the Election Commission to consider the petitioner's plea.
"Sharad Pawar is a very influential person, and he has made this remark with full knowledge and intent," petitioner Praveen Wategaonkar told the Bombay High Court on Thursday. He said that the Election Commission should have itself taken the precaution to ensure that there is no double voting.
While Satara in western Maharashtra will go to polls on April 17, Mumbai will vote on April 24.
The court stated at the outset that passing such an order would amount to interfering with the election process. "How can a writ be issued for postponing parliamentary elections?" the division bench of Justices A.S. Oka and A.A. Sayed asked.
When the court did not show the inclination to pass a favourable order, the petitioner pleaded for directions to the Election Commission to inform the court whether it was considering the possibility of keeping the polls in Satara and Mumbai on the same dates.
The division bench, while passing order, stated, "Under Article 226 of the Constitution, the court cannot issue the writ of Mandamus directly to the Election Commission to postpone the elections. Such a grant will amount to interference with the election process."
Meanwhile, in relief to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Bombay High Court dismissed another petition seeking action against it for the alleged misuse of national emblems on its website. The political party informed the court that it did not misuse any of the emblems, and that it had pulled off an emblem from its website quite some time ago. The division bench headed by the Chief Justice then dismissed the petition.