Bengal Chief Minister files Election Petition
Recently, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has filed an ‘Election Petition’ in the Calcutta High Court challenging against the assembly election result of Nandi gram constituency.
- It may be noted that the role of the Election Commission ceases after the declaration of the election results, after which if a candidate believes that there was corruption or malpractice in the election process, then election petition is the only legal remedy.
- Such a candidate can challenge the results by way of election or election petition in the High Court of the concerned State.
- Provided that such petition has to be filed within 45 days from the date of issue of election result; The case cannot be heard by the Court after the expiry of this period.
- Although as per the Representation of the People Act (RPA) of 1951, the High Court should endeavor to conclude the trial within 6 months, such litigation often goes on for years.
Grounds on which election petition can be filed (Section 100 of RPA)
- The winning candidate on the date of election was not eligible to contest the election.
- Any corrupt practices has been committed by the winning candidate, his poll agent or any other person with the consent of the winning candidate.
- Improper acceptance of nomination or unreasonable rejection of nomination of the winning candidate.
- Misconduct in the counting process, including improperly obtaining a vote, refusing any valid vote or accepting any invalid vote.
- Non-compliance with the provisions of the Constitution or the Representation of the People Act (RPA) or any rule or order made under ‘RPA’.
If the judgment is in favor of the petitioner (Section 84 of RPA)
- The petitioner can demand that the result of the winning candidate be declared null and void.
- Further, if the petition is filed by the same candidate, the petitioner can seek the Court to declare himself or any other candidate as the winner or duly elected.
- If the election petition is decided in favor of the petitioner, a re-election or a new winner may be announced by the Court.
History of Election Petition
The most famous such case was of the year 1975, in which the decision of the Allahabad High Court was under discussion, under which the election of Indira Gandhi from Rae Bareli constituency 4 years ago (year 1971) was canceled on the grounds of corrupt practices.
Representation of the People Act, 1951
- It controls the actual conduct of elections and by-elections.
- It also provides administrative machinery for conducting elections.
- It also regulates the registration of political parties.
- Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 provides for a wide range of corrupt practices, including bribery, use of coercion or coercion or soliciting votes on grounds of religion, caste, community and language.
- It also specifies the qualifications and disqualifications for membership of the Houses.
- It provides for prevention of corrupt practices and other offences.
- It lays down the procedure for settling doubts and disputes arising out of elections.
Source – Indian Express