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Punjab & Haryana High Court Dismisses Election Petition Filed In 2002 Against Captain Amarinder Singh

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
7 Jan 2021 5:34 AM GMT
Punjab & Haryana High Court Dismisses Election Petition Filed In 2002 Against Captain Amarinder Singh
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The Punjab and Haryana High Court, on Tuesday, dismissed an election petition challenging the election of Captain Amarinder Singh to the Punjab Legislative Assembly held in the year 2002.Harkirat Singh, had filed election petition in 2002 itself, alleging that Singh had indulged in 'corrupt' practices and has projected himself as "Maharaja of Patiala" in the posters issued/published by...

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The Punjab and Haryana High Court, on Tuesday, dismissed an election petition challenging the election of Captain Amarinder Singh to the Punjab Legislative Assembly held in the year 2002.

Harkirat Singh, had filed election petition in 2002 itself,  alleging that Singh had indulged in 'corrupt' practices and has projected himself as "Maharaja of Patiala" in the posters issued/published by him just to influence the voters. Singh had then won the election from Patiala Town Assembly Constituency. The election petition was dismissed by the Court in 2004 on the ground that the petitioner failed to disclose the material facts regarding corrupt practices to constitute a complete cause of action. In appeal, the Supreme Court had set aside the dismissal order and had remitted the case back for deciding the same on merits.

Referring to the evidence adduced in the case, Justice Daya Chaudhary observed that nothing has been proved on record from the statements of the witnesses that Singh had taken the assistance of the gazetted officers in his election. "Unless there is cogent evidence to take the case beyond reasonable doubt, the election of a returned candidate cannot be set aside. There are mere allegations of corrupt practice, which may only create a doubt, but the charge of corrupt practice cannot be proved on mere suspicion or doubt. Requirement of proof of corrupt practice is higher and is confined to strict legal evidence", the court said.

The court also observed that the election petitioner has also failed to prove his allegation that Singh incurred expenses more than the prescribed limit.  The court said that the charges in the election petition are to be proved like a criminal charge and the same are to be proved beyond reasonable doubt and not merely by preponderance of probabilities.

"However, the respondent himself has stated in his statement that he never used prefix of "Maharaja" with his name but always uses prefix "Captain" with his name. He is popular by the name "Captain Amarinder Singh" among the people and also in political circle. As far as this allegation is concerned, no evidence has come on record as to how voters of constituency were influenced. This allegation has also not been proved.", the court added while dismissing the election petition.

Case: Harkirat Singh vs Amarinder Singh [Election Petition No. 26 of 2002] 
Coram: Justice Daya Chaudhary
Counsel: Adv Vishal Aggarwal, Sr. Adv M. L. Saggar with Adv Sunny Saggar

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