Supreme Court notice to Election Commission

The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed a judgment of the Patna High Court quashing the election of Janata Dal (United) Member of Parliament Dinesh Chandra Yadav from the Kahagria Lok Sabha constituency.

A Bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and J. S. Khehar stayed the judgment on an appeal filed by Mr. Yadav assailing the High Court judgment. The Bench passed the order after hearing senior counsel Amarendra Saran appearing for the appellant. The Bench issued notice to respondent No. 1 and the Election Commission.

In a brief order, the Bench said: “In view of the decision of the Constitution Bench and also on the admitted position that the election of the appellant was not set aside on any ground of corrupt practice but solely on the ground that the nomination paper of Satya Narayan Singh (respondent No.1) was wrongly rejected, we are inclined to grant stay. Accordingly, there shall be interim stay of the impugned order of the High Court. In the meantime, counter-affidavit by respondent No.1 be filed in two weeks. List thereafter.”

The High Court had declared the election of the appellant void and directed the Election Commission to hold a by-election.

It said “Form 26, which requires disclosing the criminal antecedent, assets, liabilities and education qualification by way of an affidavit, is not part of the nomination paper and therefore time should have been granted to respondent No.1 to file the same.”

The appellant assailing the judgment said such a finding of the High Court was erroneous in view of the decision of this Court in the PUCL case as well as legislative provisions contained in Section 33A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. He said “Form 26 is an essential and integral part of nomination paper. If nomination paper is defective the same cannot be cured at a subsequent stage and such nomination paper is liable to be rejected at the time of scrutiny”.

On the date of scrutiny the nomination paper of the respondent was rejected by the Returning Officer on the ground that Form 26 was defective.

Thereafter the petitioner filed the election petition and the High Court set aside the election. Hence the appeal.