Tamil Nadu

Withdrawing election petition may further delay Tirupparankundram bypoll, says ex-High Court judge

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‘DMK candidate’s plea may further delay byelection’

Retired Madras High Court judge K. Chandru said that the decision of P. Saravanan, the DMK candidate who was defeated in the Tirupparankundram Assembly constituency, to withdraw the election petition he filed in 2017 was not advisable.

The Madurai-based oncologist had expressed his willingness to withdraw the petition, in a bid to facilitate the conduct of a bypoll to the constituency along with the Lok Sabha election on April 18.

Justice Chandru said the petitioner’s move might end up creating further delay in the declaration of a bypoll to the constituency. He pointed out that the withdrawal of an election petition was not an easy process when compared to other cases under the Representation of the People Act of 1951.

Section 109 of the Act states that an election petition could be withdrawn only by the leave of the High Court. Therefore, it would be completely within the discretion of Justice P. Velmurugan, who had already reserved his verdict on the Tirupparankundram election petition, to permit the plea for withdrawal or otherwise.

Even if the judge was inclined to grant permission, he would have to put the respondents on notice before doing so. A notice should also be published in the official gazette so that any other eligible persons could substitute themselves in place of the petitioner.

In Tirupparankundram, A.K. Bose of the AIADMK defeated Dr. Saravanan by a margin of 42,670 votes. After the filing of the election petition and the completion of the trial, Bose died on August 2, 2018.

Substitution of petitioner

Justice Velmurugan ordered the issuance of a gazette notification regarding the death, and two voters from the constituency got themselves substituted in the place of Bose. It was only after such substitution that the arguments in the election petition got completed and the judgment reserved. “A similar exercise will have to be carried out now on the plea of withdrawal too, and it will take its own time,” Justice Chandru said.

Even after the HC permits the withdrawal of the petition, the EC might want to wait for the appeal period of 90 days to get over before notifying a bypoll to the constituency. “Therefore, the decision to withdraw the case may not bear any fruit,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 5:09:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/withdrawing-election-petition-may-further-delay-tirupparankundram-bypoll-says-ex-high-court-judge/article26515816.ece

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