SUPREME COURT: PETITIONER MUST BE PRESENT AT THE TIME OF FILING PLEA

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The Supreme Court has ruled that the election petitioner must be personally present at the time of filing the petition under section 81(1) of the Representation of the People’s Act in the High Court.

A bench comprising Justices DK Jain and P Sathasivan while dismissing the petition of a defeated candidate in the Assembly Elections in Karnataka which were held on May 10, 2008 noted, “In such circumstances it is but proper to interpret the language used by the legislature and implement the same accordingly.

“The challenge to an election is a serious matter. The object of presenting an election petition by a candidate or elector is to ensure genuineness and to curtail vexatious litigations.

“In view of the endorsement by the Registrar (Judicial) on July 7, 2008 that the election petition was presented only by an advocate and not by the election petitioner, we accept the High Court order in dismissing the election petition." Justice Sathasivam, speaking for the bench in a 16-page judgment, added, " we further hold that as per sub-section 1 of section 81, election petition is to be presented by any candidate or elector relating to the election personally to the authorised officer of the High Court and failure to adhere to such course would by contrary to the set provision and in that event the election petition is liable to be dismissed on the ground of improper presentation.

“Since the High Court correctly dismissed the election petition, the civil appeal fails and the same is dismissed." The petitioner GV Sreerama Reddy was the CPM candidate and petitioner number two was his election agent and the petition was filed thorough an advocate. The petitioners were not personally present at the time of filing of the petition.

The main allegation of Reddy was that he was declared elected by the Returning Officer and when he left the place an application for recounting was moved by the Congress candidate, who was subsequently declared elected from constituency number 140, Bagepalli in Karnataka.

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