Tamil Nadu

HC says no to awarding Kanimozhi costs for contesting election petition

Allows a voter from Thoothukudi to get substituted in the place of Tamilisai

The Madras High Court has refused to award costs (expenses) to Thoothukudi Member of Parliament Kanimozhi for contesting an election petition that was originally filed by Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan.

After the latter withdrew the case, a voter from the constituency expressed his inclination to get into the shoes of the petitioner.

Justice S.M. Subramaniam held that costs could be imposed only if an election petitioner chooses to withdraw his/her plaint in a casual manner.

However, in the present case, Ms. Soundararajan, who had lost to Ms. Kanimozhi in the elections held in April this year, had withdrawn the election petition only after her appointment as Governor of Telangana.

“Therefore, there is every reason to accept such a genuine ground for withdrawal of the petition. Under these circumstances, this court is not inclined to award any costs.

“This court is of the view that awarding costs is a discretion and it could be done only after considering the facts and circumstances in each case,” the judge said.

He also allowed A. Muthuramalingam, a voter from Thoothukudi parliamentary constituted, to get substituted as the petitioner in the election petition originally preferred by Ms. Soundararajan. The judge rejected all objections raised by Ms. Kanimozhi for allowing the petition for substitution of the petitioner.

In her counter affidavit, the Thoothukudi Member of Parliament accused Mr. Muthuramalingam of having suppressed crucial facts before the High Court while filing his petition for substitution.

She said he had not disclosed the fact of being a member of the BJP and a district president of the party’s advocates wing.

Further, claiming that he had canvassed for Ms. Tamiliasai during the election campaign held early this year, the MP stated that the petitioner ought to have disclosed all these facts before the court.

Not convinced with such objections, the judge said, the law does not prevent a member of a political party from filing an election petition.

The Representation of the People Act of 1951 allows either a contestant or a voter to challenge the election.

He later granted time till November 26 for Ms. Kanimozhi to file her written reply to the main election petition.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 10:34:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-says-no-to-awarding-kanimozhi-costs-for-contesting-election-petition/article29966704.ece

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