Applicant seeks to substitute himself for defeated candidate
The Madras High Court on Monday allowed an application by a person seeking to substitute himself for the defeated CPI (M) candidate in the Madurai Lok Sabha constituency in 2009 polls, to challenge the election of Union Chemicals Minister M.K. Alagiri.
In his order, Justice V. Dhanapalan said that though an election petition filed abated on the death of the petitioner, it could be pursued by another person coming forward to prosecute that petition as enjoined by Section112 of the Representation of the People Act (RPA.).
P. Mohan, the CPI (M) candidate, had filed a petition challenging the election of Mr. Alagiri. He died in October last year. A. Lazar, the alternative candidate of the party, filed an application praying to substitute himself in the place of Mohan and continue the proceedings. He was also aggrieved at the declaration of Mr. Alagiri as the winner.
In his counter, Mr. Alagiri submitted that the applicant was not entitled to continue the proceedings on the basis of the deposit amount by Mohan.
Mr. Lazar had no locus standi to file the application. The moment the applicant withdrew his nomination and had not participated in the election, he was not entitled to challenge the Returning Officer's declaration. The provision contemplated under Section 112 (3) of the RPA did not, in any way, include the candidates who had withdrawn their nomination papers.
Mr. Justice Dhanapalan said an election petition once filed did not mean a contest only between the parties thereto, but created a situation which the whole constituency was entitled to avail itself of. A reading of section 116 of the RPA made it clear that the death of the sole petitioner did not put an end to the proceedings, but they could be continued by any person who might himself have been a petitioner. That was the law laid down by the Supreme Court.
Under Section 112 (3) RPA, the right to apply to be substituted accrued on fulfilment of two conditions — the person making the application should be one who might himself have been a petitioner; and the application is made within 14 days of the publication (of the demise of the election petitioner) under sub section (2) of Section 112. He however, became entitled to be substituted only upon compliance with the conditions, if any, as to the security deposit.
With regard to depositing of amount as security for costs, as Mohan had deposited Rs.2000 at the time of presenting the election petition, Mr. Lazar who had substituted him, was also under an obligation to deposit a similar amount.
Mr. Justice Dhanapalan directed the applicant to deposit a further amount of Rs.2000. He directed the Registry to list the election petition after two weeks.