HC quashes elections held to Karnataka Medical Council

The High Court of Karnataka has set aside the elections that were held to the Karnataka Medical Coucil (KMC), while declaring that the elections were vitiated owing to a fraud by the Returning Officer (RO), a Joint Registrar of Department of Cooperative Societies.

The court also directed the Lokayukta to conduct disciplinary proceedings against D. Pandurang Garag, ̥the RO, on his lapses while observing that it would be futile to entrust enquiry to the State government, which had supported his submissions before the court.

The HC had witnessed multiple litigations over the delay in elections and the manner of the conduct of polls since the past four years.

Justice M. Nagaprasanna passed the order while allowing a petition by Gachinamani Naganatha, a 70-year-old medical practitioner from Kalaburagi. The petitioner had questioned the process of preparing the voters’ list. The elections were held this January 23 and the results were declared on January 25.

The court said that the RO added 37,298 persons to the voters’ list that included deceased doctors and those who left the country after surrendering their registration, while noticing that the RO casually gave his explanation to the court that the list “may contain one or two dead persons and a few who have left the country.”

“This is enough circumstance to hold the conduct of the RO was in perpetration of fraud,” the court observed, while pointing out that the RO did not publish list of voters on the website of KMC as per law but published it on a separate website.

The court also said that the RO, despite directions from the court, did not elaborate on consideration of thousands of objections received for the voters’ list, but claimed that he had passed a common order on all objections after claiming that he had individually looked into all objections though his order does not reflect conduct of such exercise.

From the contents of his affidavit, the court said that they are “enough to hold that action of the Returning Officer was illegal, high-handed and would resultantly get vitiated by fraud, as one acting contrary to the statute...” and directed the government and the KMC to conduct re-election within six months after duly preparing the voters’ list afresh.

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 5:13:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/hc-quashes-elections-held-to-karnataka-medical-council/article34814531.ece

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