Plea for permission to contest in Delhi elections: 11 move HC

New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) Eleven persons moved the Delhi High Court on Friday challenging an order that had dismissed their pleas against rejection of their nominations for contesting the upcoming assembly elections.

They filed their appeal challenging the single judge's January 28 order, alleging that it was passed erroneously and disregarding the facts and material placed on record by them.

The plea alleged that the court had declined to entertain their petition and wrongly denied restoration, protection and enforcement of their constitutional and legal rights to contest elections from the New Delhi seat.

It sought setting aside of the January 28 order and that the matter be remanded back to the single judge bench for its adjudication and disposal on merits.

As an interim relief, they sought to stay the single judge's order and also the January 24 list of validly nominated candidates.

They also sought direction to the Centre, Election Commission and Chief Election Officer to forthwith inquire into the January 20 incident when their nominations were allegedly rejected.

The 11 persons, in their earlier plea, had sought to contest the upcoming assembly elections from the New Delhi seat, whose nomination forms were allegedly not accepted by the returning officer despite them arriving at the election office within the stipulated time.

On January 28, the single judge had dismissed the plea saying it was not maintainable and that under the Representation of People Act, only an election petition was permissible and it would have to be filed after results were declared.

The petition contended that the petitioners had arrived at the election office at Jamnagar House here early in the morning on January 20 with their duly-filled forms and required documents.

Since there were several candidates already waiting at the office, the returning officer (RO) issued them tokens and based on their respective token numbers the forms were to be accepted and scrutinised.

However, due to paucity of time, all the people who were issued tokens could not be attended to, the plea said, adding that the returning officer asked the petitioners to come the next day.

The returning officer also told them their tokens were valid for the next day and their turn would come before that of others, the petition claims.

When the petitioners reached the election office the next day, they found that instead of tokens, the names of the applicants were being recorded on a sheet, the petition said, claiming that once Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal arrived there to file his nomination, he was directly taken inside to allegedly facilitate his filing.

Their plea claimed that due to the 'wrongful, illegal, arbitrary, unconstitutional and malafide actions/inactions of Respondent 5 (RO), the petitioners were illegally and unconstitutionally deprived of exercising their constitutional right of participating in the democratic process of government formation'.

The petitioners have sought directions to the Centre, Election Commission, Chief Electoral Officer and returning officer to initiate measures which would help them to file their nomination forms for contesting election from the New Delhi seat against Kejriwal. PTI SKV HMP KJ