Madurai

HC grants injunction on swearing-in

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The post was reserved for woman (general). While Devi contested under autorickshaw symbol, Priyadharshini contested under lock and key symbol.

After two candidates were declared panchayat president-elect in Sivaganga district, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Saturday restrained the State from conducting the swearing in of the president to the panchayat.

Two women candidates, M. Devi and A. Priyadharshini had contested for the post of president to the Sankarapuram village panchayat in Sivaganga district. The post was reserved for woman (general). While Devi contested under autorickshaw symbol, Priyadharshini contested under lock and key symbol.

At about 8 p.m. on Thursday, Devi was declared the winner. However, a commotion ensued after the announcement of the result and a recount was done. Subsequently at 5 a.m. on Friday, Priyadharshini was declared winner. Both the candidates had been awarded certificates (Form 25).

Challenging the result, Devi, in her petition filed before the court, said that Priyadharshini was favoured as she was associated with the ruling party. She sought a direction to declare the certificate awarded to Priyadharshini as null and void and grant an injunction on the conduct of the swearing in.

In a special sitting, a Division Bench of Justices R. Subramanian and B. Pugalendhi observed that Rule 66 (5) of the Tamil Nadu Panchayats Act, 1994 made it clear that the Returning officer had no power to entertain the application for recounting after he/she had signed the result sheet (Form 22).

“We are therefore satisfied that a prima facie case has been made out by the petitioner”, the court said. In view of the glaring breach of the rules committed, the court granted a stay on the operation of Form 25 issued to Priyadharshini till January 10.

The court added that there shall be an order of injunction restraining the State Election Commission, Sivaganga Collector and the Election Officer for Sakkottai Panchayat Union from swearing in Priyadharshini as president to the Sankarapuram village panchayat.

Notice was issued to Priyadharshini returnable by January 8. Further, the court directed the Registry to post the case before an appropriate bench on January 8.

EOM

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 6:36:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/hc-grants-injunction-on-swearing-in/article30482707.ece

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