State Election Commissioner must be an Independent Person not a subordinate in Government.

Appointment of Law Secretary as Election Commissioner

Constitution of India, Article 243-K:

The most disturbing feature of these cases is the subversion of the constitutional mandate contained in Article 243K of the Constitution of India. The State Election Commissioner has to be a person who is independent of the State Government as he is an important constitutional functionary who is to oversee the entire election process in the state qua panchayats and municipalities. The importance given to the independence of a State Election Commissioner is explicit from the provision for removal from his office made in the proviso to clause (2) of Article 243K. Insofar as the manner and the ground for his removal from the office is concerned, he has been equated with a Judge of a High Court. Giving an additional charge of such an important and independent constitutional office to an officer who is directly under the control of the State Government is, in our view, a mockery of the constitutional mandate. We therefore declare that the additional charge given to a Law Secretary to the government of the state flouts the constitutional mandate of Article 243K. The State Government is directed to remedy this position by appointing an independent person to be the State Election Commissioner at the earliest. Such person cannot be a person who holds any office or post in the Central or any State Government. It is also made clear that henceforth, all State Election Commissioners appointed under Article 243K in the length and breadth of India have to be independent persons who cannot be persons who are occupying a post or office under the Central or any State Government. If there are any such persons holding the post of State Election Commissioner in any other state, such persons must be asked forthwith to step down from such office and the State Government concerned be bound to fulfil the constitutional mandate of Article 243K by appointing only independent persons to this high constitutional office. The directions contained in this paragraph are issued under Article 142 of the Constitution of India so as to ensure that the constitutional mandate of an independent State Election Commission which is to conduct elections under Part IX and IXA of the Constitution be strictly followed in the future.

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Election: non-disclosure of full particulars of criminal cases pending against a candidate, at the time of filing of nomination

Rule of Law in a Democratic Society:

In a respectable and elevated constitutional democracy purity of election, probity in governance, sanctity of individual dignity, sacrosanctity of rule of law, certainty and sustenance of independence of judiciary, efficiency and acceptability of bureaucracy, credibility of institutions, integrity and respectability of those who run the institutions and prevalence of mutual deference among all the wings of the State are absolutely significant, in a way, imperative. They are not only to be treated as essential concepts and remembered as glorious precepts but also to be practised so that in the conduct of every individual they are concretely and fruitfully manifested. The crucial recognised ideal which is required to be realised is eradication of criminalisation of politics and corruption in public life. When criminality enters into the grass-root level as well as at the higher levels there is a feeling that ‘monstrosity’ is likely to wither away the multitude and eventually usher in a dreadful fear that would rule supreme creating an incurable chasm in the spine of the whole citizenry. In such a situation the generation of today, in its effervescent ambition and volcanic fury, smothers the hopes, aspirations and values of tomorrow’s generation and contaminate them with the idea to pave the path of the past, possibly thinking, that is the noble tradition and corruption can be a way of life and one can get away with it by a well decorated exterior. But, an intervening and pregnant one, there is a great protector, and an unforgiving one, on certain occasions and some situations, to interdict – “The law’, the mightiest sovereign in a civilised society.

Non-disclosure of full particulars of criminal cases pending against a candidate:

Continue reading “Election: non-disclosure of full particulars of criminal cases pending against a candidate, at the time of filing of nomination”

Criminalization of Politics and disqualification of Convicted Politicians

The constitutional functionaries, who have taken the pledge to uphold the constitutional principles, are charged with the responsibility to ensure that the existing political framework does not get tainted with the evil of corruption. However, despite this heavy mandate prescribed by our Constitution, our Indian democracy, which is the world’s largest democracy, has seen a steady increase in the level of criminalization that has been creeping into the Indian polity. This unsettlingly increasing trend of criminalization of politics, to which our country has been a witness, tends to disrupt the constitutional ethos and strikes at the very root of our democratic form of government by making our citizenry suffer at the hands of those who are nothing but a liability to our country.

Directions by Supreme Court :-

(i) Each contesting candidate shall fill up the form as provided by the Election Commission and the form must contain all the particulars as required therein.

Continue reading “Criminalization of Politics and disqualification of Convicted Politicians”

Delay in filing election petition

Application of Limitation Act, 1963 on Election Petition under Representation of People Act.

Facts:

The first respondent filed an election petition in the first instance to which there was an objection to maintainability under Order 7 Rule 11 of the CPC. Confronted with the objection under Order 7 Rule 11, the first respondent obviated a decision thereon by withdrawing the election petition. The grant of liberty to file a fresh election petition cannot obviate the bar of limitation. The fresh election petition filed by the first respondent was beyond the statutory period of 30 days and was hence liable to be rejected. Continue reading “Delay in filing election petition”

West Bengal Panchayat Elections

Supreme Court Refused to countermand West Bengal Panchayat Elections:

These were the reasons given by Supreme Court for declining to interfere:

“[I]t would be inappropriate for this Court to exercise its jurisdiction to interdict the declaration of results of the uncontested seats. First and foremost, it is necessary for the Court to notice that no specific relief was claimed before the High Court in regard to those seats where there was no contest. Neither were there adequate pleadings nor indeed were specific prayers set up before the High Court when its jurisdiction under Article 226 was invoked. The proceedings before the High Court were brought by several political parties, each of whom would have been well aware of the situation on the ground and the need to formulate an adequate basis in fact to invoke the jurisdiction of the High Court. Absent such a factual foundation, the High Court dealt with the only issue which had been addressed, which was the plea that nominations should be allowed to be filed in the electronic form. No other plea was raised.

Continue reading “West Bengal Panchayat Elections”

Declaration of assets by an Election Candidate

Fundamental right of citizens to know about financial position of a Candidate.

The petitioner submits that the first step in the collection of data should be to call upon those who seek to get elected to a legislative body to make a declaration of – (i) their assets and those of their ASSOCIATES (which is already a requirement under Section We must make it clear that nothing in law prevents a vigilant citizen from collecting such data for initiating appropriate proceedings in accordance with law. 33 of the RP Act of 1951 etc.); and (ii) the sources of their income.

The information regarding the sources of income of the CANDIDATES and their ASSOCIATES, would in our opinion, certainly help the voter to make an informed choice of the candidate to represent the constituency in the LEGISLATURE. It is, therefore, a part of the fundamental right under Article 19(1)(a).

Continue reading “Declaration of assets by an Election Candidate”

What is the meaning of ex parte?

Nature of ex parte order:

Order 9 Rule 6 of Civil Procedure Code 1908, provides that When the plaintiff appears and the defendant does not appear when the suit is called on for hearing, if it is proved that the summons was duly served:

“(a)……………………………………………. the Court may proceed ex parte”.

Question:

The whole question is, what do these words mean?

Observations:

our laws of procedure are based on the principle that, as far as possible, no proceeding in a Court of law should be conducted to the detriment of a person in his absence. There are of course exceptions, and this is one of them. When the defendant has been served and has been afforded an opportunity of appearing, then, if he does not appear, the Court may proceed in his absence. But, be it noted, the Court is not directed to make an ex parte order. Continue reading “What is the meaning of ex parte?”

Election Law: Withdrawal of Nomination.

Proper procedure or withdrawal of a contesting candidate.

Relevant law is section 37 of Representation of Peoples Act, which is as under:

37. Withdrawal of candidature.—
(1) Any candidate may withdraw his candidature by a notice in writing which shall contain such particulars as may be prescribed and shall be subscribed by him and delivered before three O’clock in the afternoon on the day fixed under clause (c) of section 30 to the returning officer either by such candidate in person or by his proposer,  or election agent who has been authorised in this behalf in writing by such candidate.
(2) No person who has given a notice of withdrawal of his candidature under sub-section (1) shall be allowed to cancel the notice. 3[(3) The returning officer shall, on being satisfied as to the genuineness of a notice or withdrawal and the identity of the person delivering it under sub-section (1), cause the notice to be affixed in some conspicuous place in his office.

Election result in case of fraudulent withdrawal:

When there are only two contesting candidates, and one of them is under a statutory disqualification, votes cast in favour of the disqualified candidate may be regarded as thrown away, irrespective of whether the voters who voted for him were aware of the disqualification. This is not to say that where there are more than two candidates in the field for a single seat, and one alone is disqualified, on proof of disqualification all the votes cast in his favour will be discarded and the candidate securing the next highest number of votes will be declared elected. In such a case, question of notice to the voters may assume significance, for the voters may not, if aware of the disqualification have voted for the disqualified candidate. Continue reading “Election Law: Withdrawal of Nomination.”

Doctrine of necessity and Bias

Doctrine of necessity overrides
the principle of apprehended bias

J. Jayalalithaa (cropped) Facts of the case:

Ms. J. Jayalalitha was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu on or, the AIADMK ticket in the General Elections held in June 1991 and on being elected as the leader of the party she was sworn-in as the Chief Minister of the State. On 2.10.1992, Dr. Subramanian Swamy preferred a petition to the State Governor under Article 192 of the Constitution of India alleging that the Chief Minister had incurred a disqualification of being a member of the Legislative Assembly of the State, in that, she being a partner in the partnership firm run in the name and style of Messrs Jaya Publications had entered into a contract with the State Government and which contract was subsisting on the date of the petition, in view of sub-clause (e) of clause (1) of Article 191 of the Constitution read with Section 9A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951

The question was whether the Chief Election Commissioner against whom she had expressed her apprehension of Bias, should be recused from the proceedings or he has to act in an advisory capacity, in case of dead lock, on the basis of Doctrine of Necessity. Continue reading “Doctrine of necessity and Bias”