HC sets aside order asking returning officer to allow TMC nominee to contest polls

·2-min read

Kolkata, Mar 12 (PTI) A division bench of the Calcutta High Court on Friday set aside a single bench order that had directed a returning officer to allow the Trinamool Congress nominee for the Joypur seat to participate in the West Bengal assembly elections.

The returning officer for Joypur constituency in Purulia district had rejected Ujjwal Kumar's nomination on technical grounds.

The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) moved an appeal before the division bench on the plea that the order of the single judge was issued on the face of the bar to interference by courts in electoral matters imposed under Article 329(b) of the Constitution of India.

The Article 329(b) says that No election to either House of Parliament or to the House or either House of the Legislature of a State shall be called in question except by an election petition presented to such authority and in such manner as may be provided for by or under any law made by the appropriate Legislature.

The ECI also pleaded that the order was issued by the single bench without notice to the statutory authorities under the Representation of the People Act, including the returning officer, who had rejected the nomination of TMC nominee Kumar.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice T B N Radhakrishnan and Justice Aniruddha Roy set aside the single bench order that had directed the returning officer to allow Kumar to participate in the elections.

Noting that scrutiny of nomination papers is a stage in the election process, the division bench said that the issue can be open for consideration in an Election Petition.

The single bench of Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya had directed the returning officer to allow petitioner Kumar to take part in the election by treating his application of nomination for candidature and connected affidavit filed by him as valid and in accordance with the law.

Justice Bhattacharyya, passing the ex-parte order on Thursday, said that the defects pointed out by the returning officer concerned in Kumar's documents were not defects in the true sense of the term insofar as the columns which were not filled up by the petitioner were not applicable to him at all.

Joypur goes to polls on March 27 in the first of the eight-phase West Bengal assembly election. PTI AMR NN NN