Justifying the issue of summons to DMK leader M. Karunanidhi in an election-related case, the Returning Officer of the Tiruvarur constituency in the 2011 Assembly elections has submitted before the Madras High Court that a false declaration may not be a ground to reject a nomination paper, but certainly it was a ground for instituting prosecution.

Mr. Karunanidhi had filed a petition seeking to quash the summons issued by the Judicial Magistrate, Tiruvarur, for his appearance. The summons was pursuant to a complaint by the Returning Officer against him for allegedly failing to furnish particulars of certain property in his nomination papers and the affidavit.

Hence, he had committed an offence under Section 125-A of the Representation of the People Act read with Section 177 IPC.

The petitioner said the complaint was a “vindictive action” of the officers of the local government, just to “humiliate and harass” him. The property said to have been omitted in the affidavit was the place where his mother’s memorial had been built.

There was no allegation in the complaint that he was getting any income from the property.

In a counter affidavit, P. Paramasivam, the then Returning Officer of the constituency, said the petitioner himself had admitted that the property referred to in the complaint had not been disclosed by him in the affidavit along with the nomination papers.

One S. Jaganathan had filed a complaint with the Chief Election Commissioner alleging that Mr. Karunanidhi had suppressed details of certain property in his affidavit.

On July 12, last year, the EC directed the Chief Electoral Officer, Tamil Nadu, that the Returning Officer may be advised to file a complaint against the petitioner before the appropriate authority.

Thus, he filed the complaint before the JM, Tiruvarur. Mr. Karunanidhi’s contention that the EC’s approval had not been obtained and his sworn statement had not been recorded was not correct, the counter said.

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