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Allahabad High Court issues notice on Sangeet Som plea against Sardhana MLA Atul Pradhan

The next hearing in the case will be on July 4, 2022.

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The Allahabad High Court has sought the reply along with a list of all documents on an election petition challenging the election of Atul Pradhan, MLA of Sardhana Assembly Constituency in Meerut.

A single-judge bench of Justice J.J. Munir passed this order while hearing an Election Petition filed by Sangeet Singh Som.

The petition was presented in person by the petitioner before the Registrar General on 12.04.2022. The requisite security has been deposited. The Registrar General has made a report to this effect indicating that the election petitioner, Sangeet Singh Som, has appeared in person and has been duly identified by Rahul Chaudhary, Advocate. The petition has further been reported to be within limitation by the Stamp Reporter report dated 12.04.2022. There is also compliance with the provisions of Sections 80, 80A, 81, 82 and 117 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

The submission of K.R. Singh, counsel for the petitioner, is that the sole respondent, who is the returned candidate, has suppressed 11 criminal cases that are pending against him, where charge-sheets have been filed and cognizance was taken, while submitting his nomination form on January 19, 2022, before the Returning Officer, 44 Sardhana Vidhan Sabha, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh in Form 26 mandated by Rule 4A of the Conduct of Election Rules 1961.

It is submitted that the aforesaid suppression of 11 criminal cases, which were in his special knowledge, constitutes a violation of Section 33-A and 123(4) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 besides a breach of Rule 4A of the Rules rendering the returned candidate’s election void.

It is further submitted that failure to disclose criminal cases, pending against the petitioner, in his affidavit filed in support of the nomination paper dated 19.01.2022, filed before the Returning Officer, constitutes undue influence, and resultantly, a corrupt practice under the provisions of Section 123(2) of the Representation of the People Act.

The Court issued notice to the respondent by an ordinary process as well as by Registered Post in terms of Rule 6 of Chapter XV-A of the Allahabad High Court Rules, 1952, returnable on 04.07.2022. Notice through publication shall also be issued in terms of Clause (b) of Rule 6 of Chapter XV-A of the Rules of the Court.

“On the next date scheduled, the respondent shall appear before the Court and answer the claim, and, if he wishes to put up a defense he shall file his written statement together with a list of all documents, whether in his possession or power or not, upon which he intends to rely as evidence in support of his defense, in terms of Rule 5 of Chapter XV-A of the High Court Rules. In default of appearance being entered on or before the date fixed, the election petition may be heard and determined in his absence,” the order reads.

The Court has fixed the next hearing of the petition on July 4, 2022.

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