Delhi HC rejects plea by 11 Independent candidates against nomination rejection

A single-judge Bench noted that only an election petition was permissible and it would have to be filed after the results were declared.

February 06, 2020 04:29 pm | Updated February 07, 2020 11:47 am IST - New Delhi

A view of the Delhi High Court

A view of the Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court on Thursday declined to entertain a plea by 11 Independent candidates against rejection of their nominations for the February 8 Assembly polls.

A Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice C. Hari Shankar dismissed the candidates’ plea, which had also sought to set aside a single-judge order dismissing their petition against the rejection of their nominations.

The returning officer (RO) had rejected their nominations on January 21, the last date for filing the same.

The plea challenging the rejection was dismissed on January 28 by a single-judge Bench of the High Court on the grounds it was not maintainable, and that under the Representation of People Act, only an election petition was permissible and it would have to be filed after the results were declared.

The petitioner candidates had contended that the single judge’s order “was passed erroneously and disregarding the facts and material placed on record” by them.

The plea had alleged that the single judge had wrongly denied restoration, protection and enforcement of their constitutional and legal rights to contest elections from the New Delhi seat.

They had also sought a direction to the Centre, Election Commission (EC) and Chief Election Officer (CEO) to forthwith inquire into the manner in which their nominations were rejected.

 

The 11 persons, in their plea before the single judge, had sought to contest the upcoming Assembly elections from the New Delhi seat. Their nomination forms were allegedly not accepted by the RO despite them arriving at the election office within the stipulated time.

The petition, before the Division Bench, had contended that the petitioners had arrived at the election office at Jamnagar House here early in the morning on January 20 with their duly-filled forms and required documents. Since there were several candidates already waiting at the office, the returning officer issued them tokens and based on their respective token numbers the forms were to be accepted and scrutinised.

However, due to paucity of time, all the people who were issued tokens could not be attended to, the plea had said, adding that the RO asked the petitioners to come the next day. The RO also told them their tokens were valid for the next day and their turn would come before that of others, the petition has claimed.

When the petitioners reached the election office the next day, they found that instead of tokens, the names of the applicants were being recorded on a sheet, the petition said, claiming that once Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal arrived there to file his nomination , he was directly taken inside to allegedly facilitate his filing.

Their plea had also claimed that due to the “wrongful, illegal, arbitrary, unconstitutional and malafide actions/inactions of Respondent 5 (RO), the petitioners were illegally and unconstitutionally deprived of exercising their constitutional right of participating in the democratic process of government formation.”

The petitioners had sought directions to the Centre, EC, CEO and returning officer to initiate measures which would help them to file their nomination forms for contesting election from the New Delhi seat against Kejriwal.

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