The Supreme Court has dismissed cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu’s plea to quash an election petition filed against him by his rival Om Prakash Soni.
In the election petition, there were three main allegations viz. First, with regard to incurring of expenditure in contravention of the limit prescribed under Section 77(3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
Second, with regard to assistance allegedly received by the appellant from one Jagjit Singh Suchu.
Third, with regard to action taken by the Returning Officer on the complaint filed by the election petitioner with regard to counting of votes.
Sidhu had approached the apex court after the high court did not accept his application under Order VI rule 16 and Order VII rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 for dismissal of the election petition.
Rejecting the contention that non-production of copies of newspapers would be fatal to the election petition, the bench comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre observed: “The dates on which the advertisements had appeared; the particulars of the newspapers in which such advertisements were published; the cost incurred for each type of advertisement in each newspaper, have all been mentioned. When details to the above extent have been mentioned in the Election Petition, it cannot be said that full particulars as required under Section 83(1)(b) of the R.P. Act have not been furnished by the election petitioner.”
The court, however, struck down allegations mentioned in paragraphs 12 to 15 of the election petition by observing thus: “What are the source(s) of information of the election petitioner with regard to the details furnished; whether he has personal knowledge of any of the said meetings; who are the persons who informed him of the details of such meetings; what is the basis of the estimate of the number of persons present and the facilities (chairs etc.) that were hired and the particulars of the refreshments served are nowhere pleaded.”
The court observed that the second issue will have to go for a full trial as ordered by the high court. As regards the third allegation, the court observed that it is not one with regard to commission of any corrupt practice, and with time, the said issue has become academic.
Read the Judgment here.