SC recommends setting up of special benches in all HCs to decide election disputes [Read the Judgment]

SC recommends setting up of special benches in all HCs to decide election disputes [Read the Judgment]

A Supreme Court Bench comprising of Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice R.F. Nariman has asked for creation of special Benches in all High Courts of the country, in order to expedite elections petitions, since “very rarely an election dispute gets resolved during the tenure of the declared candidate, reducing the adjudicatory process into a mockery of justice”.

“We deem it desirable that in each high court, dedicated benches are created by the chief justice to deal with the election petitions exclusively. Those judges assigned with the adjudication of election petitions, preferably, may not be burdened with any other work until the adjudication of the election petitions is completed,” the bench said.

Highlighting the “sacred responsibility” that is bestowed along with the membership of legislative bodies, the Bench said, “The continuance of any member in such bodies who secured his election to such a body by legally impermissible means even for a day is most undesirable. Such continuance affords an opportunity to such a member to take part in the law-making process affecting the destinies of the people.”

It added that “the power and glory that go with such membership is too high and valuable and the returned candidates naturally would leave no stone unturned for protracting the litigation as long as possible.”

"Essentially it is for a chief justice of the high court to run the administration and devise ways and means for expeditiously disposing of the cases brought before the high court. We only gently remind that the kind of delay in the adjudication of election disputes exposes the high court to unpleasant criticism damaging the credibility of the institution. A situation which is certainly required to be avoided at any cost," the Court explained

The Court was hearing a Petition by Congress candidate Mohd. Akbar. Akbar had challenged the election of a BJP candidate Ashok Sahu, who was elected in 2013 from Kawardha assembly constituency in Chhattisgarh. Akbar challenged Sahu’s election on various grounds, including commission of certain corrupt practices, and the High Court issued summons in January 2014. But the case dragged thereafter, compelling Akbar to move the Supreme Court.

Read the Judgment here.