12 March 2021 8:52 AM GMT
Setting aside the Election Commission's (EC) decision to reject the nomination of Trinamool Congress candidate Ujjwal Kumar from the Joypur constituency in Purulia district, the Calcutta High Court on Thursday (11th March) permitted him to contest polls based on his nomination papers. The Bench of Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya was hearing the plea of Kumar who challenged...
Setting aside the Election Commission's (EC) decision to reject the nomination of Trinamool Congress candidate Ujjwal Kumar from the Joypur constituency in Purulia district, the Calcutta High Court on Thursday (11th March) permitted him to contest polls based on his nomination papers.
The Bench of Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya was hearing the plea of Kumar who challenged EC's decision rejecting his candidature, citing "errors" in Kumar's affidavit (Based on the Returning Officer's order).
The matter before the Court
It may be noted that the TMC nominee from the Joypur constituency, Ujjwal Kumar had approached the High Court after his papers were rejected on Wednesday (10th March) citing the blank "third dependant" column in the form and his failure to mention if he had dues pending for availing accommodation.
The Senior counsel for the Counsel, by relying on the relevant form, indicates that the said columns, allegedly not filled up by the petitioner, were not applicable at all. The said 2 columns pertain to the third dependant of the electoral candidate, if any
Having heard the Counsel for the petitioner, the Court observed that the "defects" pointed out by the concerned Returning Officer were not defects in the true sense of the term in so far as the columns which were not filled up by the petitioner were not applicable to the petitioner at all.
The Court formed this opinion in view of the fact that the petitioner, having disclosed that the petitioner does not have any Government accommodation and the name of the third dependent being merely academic in view of there being no first and second defendant of the petitioner.
"It appears from the relevant documents cited by learned senior counsel for the petitioner, that the defects pointed out by the authorities were not of a substantial nature at all", noted the Court.
The Court also observed that the right of hearing conferred on the petitioner by virtue of Section 36(5) of the 1951 Act was not given to the petitioner in the instant case.
Further, in view of the extreme urgency involved, as today (12th March) is the last date fixed for withdrawal of candidature as such, the Court proceeded ahead to dispose of the matter ex-parte.
Significantly, the Court said,
"Since the petitioner does not have a Government accommodation and the said clause is not applicable at all to the petitioner, non-fulfilment of such condition is hyper-technical in nature and cannot be treated as a substantial defect."
The Court also took into account the Petitioner's submission that a corrected form was handed over to the concerned Officer by the petitioner on the very next day, which has not been considered by the respondent authorities.
Lastly, calling the rejection order 'contrary to law' the Court set aside the rejection of candidature of the petitioner, as uploaded on the official website of the Government and the respondents were directed,
"To permit the petitioner to participate in the oncoming elections by treating the application of nomination for candidature and connected affidavit filed by the petitioner as valid and in accordance with law."
Thus, W.P.A. 7291 of 2021 was disposed of with the above directions.
Case title - Ujjwal Kumar Vs. Chief Election Commissioner & Ors. [W.P.A. 7291 of 2021]
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