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The Delhi High Court today dismissed a petition which alleged that the Election officer at Jam Nagar allowed out of turn entry of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to fill the nomination papers.

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said the petition was not maintainable due to the bar on court’s jurisdiction in electoral matters under Art 329(b) of the Constitution of India and Section 100 of the Representation of People Act, 1951.

Advocate Siddhant Kumar, appearing for the Election Commission, pointed out that an election petition, after the election was over, was the appropriate remedy as per the Representation of People Act. A stay on the election process to decide every dispute would frustrate the election schedule as also entail huge costs and inconvenience to the stakeholders; a case may take up to several years to reach finality. The Court has, however, shown displeasure at Kumar’s comment.

Without further going into the merits of the case, the High Court dismissed the petition.

11 people had claimed that they were deprived their constitutional right to file their nomination papers for Delhi Assembly Polls, guaranteed to them under Articles 5 and 173 of the Constitution, thus alleging the actions/inactions of the Election Officer to be wrongful, illegal, arbitrary, unconstitutional and malafide.

It was stated by the petitioners that they were issued tokens for sequence of filing their nomination papers. However, at the end of the day, due to paucity of time, they were asked to come the next day. The token system was not in place the next morning. The names of other candidates were being recorded on an ordinary piece of paper, outside the election office, out of the view of any CCTV coverage. But when the chief minister came to file his nomination papers, people were “thrashed away” to make room for Kejriwal.

The petition had alleged illegal and unwarranted use of police force to facilitate the filing of the CM’s nomination papers. Further, it claimed gross violation of Clause 6.2 of the Handbook of the Returning Officer.

The petitioners had sought directions to the Centre, Election Commission, the Chief Electoral Officer and the Returning Officer to not finalise the list of candidates, and instead, initiate measures which would help them to file their nomination forms for contesting election from the New Delhi seat against Kejriwal.

Read Petition here

— India Legal Bureau

 

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