Decided on July 16,1962

Manohar Ramchandra Manekar Appellant
G.S. Solanke Respondents


ABHYANKAR, J. - (1.)THIS joint petition by six petitioners challenges six different orders passed by the appellate authority under Rule 12 of the Bombay Village Panchayat Election Rules whereby that authority has set aside the rejection of the nomination papers of respondents Nos. 3 to 8 and accepted them as validly nominated candidates from different wards for election to the Wadner -Gangai Gram Panchayat. The Collector, Amravati, fixed an election programme for election to various wards for constitution of Village Panchayat of Wadner -Gangai. According to that programme, June 3, 1962, was a date fixed for receipt of nomination papers. The nomination papers were to be received by the Returning Officer (respondent No. 2) between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on that date, at village Yeoda. The distance between Wadner -Gangai and village Yeoda is about 5 to 9 miles. It is connected by a road which is stated to be motorable, being part of Akot -Daryapur road. Scrutiny of nomination papers was to be held on June 4, and the date for withdrawal of nomination was June 11, 1962. According to the petitioners, there were five candidates on whose behalf nomination papers were given from ward No. 2. Only three candidates were to be elected to the three seats from this ward. Nomination papers of Sukhdeo and Tukaram (respondent No. 3 and respondent No. 6) were rejected by the Returning Officer, because they were filed late i.e. after 4 p.m. Two candidates were to be elected from ward No. 3. Five nomination papers were filed in respect of these two seats. Out of these, nomination paper of one Shanker Tukaram (respondent No. 7) was rejected because it was filed late. Nomination paper of Assadullakhan was rejected on merits and the fifth candidate Bhaurao withdrew his nomination, thus leaving only two candidates, Gunwant and Rashidkhan as the only candidates for the two seats. Ward No. 5 had also to elect two representatives for which four nomination papers were filed. Nomination paper of Bajirao Nathuji (respondent No. 5) was rejected as having been filed late; that of Baliram Jyotiba was rejected on merits, but he filed an appeal challenging that rejection and in appeal his nomination paper was accepted. Thus, there were three candidates remaining for contest in ward No. 5 for the two seats. In ward No. 6 two representatives were to be elected. Four persons had filed nomination papers, of whom the nomination papers of Haribhau and Gulabrao, i.e. respondents Nos. 8 and 4, were rejected as filed late by the Returning Officer.
(2.)THOSE candidates whose nomination papers were rejected by the Returning Officer as being filed late, i.e. beyond 4 p.m., preferred appeals separately before the appellate authority, i.e. the Mamlatdar. The Mamlatdar reversed the order of rejection of the nomination paper of each of these persons and accepted their nomination papers. The Mamlatdar did not issue any notice to any of the petitioners before hearing the appeal or deciding the same.
It is this order of the Mamlatdar in respect of each of the respondents accepting the nomination papers that is challenged in this petition by the petitioners. Originally it was stated in the petition that there was only one appeal filed by Sukhdeo (respondent No. 3) and that there was no other appeal filed by other respondents Nos. 4 and 8 and in spite of this respondent No. 1 the appellate authority had set aside the rejection of the nomination papers of other respondents as well. We had sent for the papers in connection with these nominations and the record of the appellate authority. It is now clear that separate appeals were filed on behalf of each of respondents Nos. 4 to 8 and that a common order was passed by respondent No. 1 in the appeal filed by respondent No. 3.

(3.)RESPONDENT No. 1, the appellate authority, had to consider the question in each appeal whether the rejection of the nomination paper of the respondents was valid on the ground that the nomination papers were filed late. The appellate authority has observed in its order that the Returning Officer has failed to note the exact time of presentation of the nomination papers. The nomination papers were perused by the authority. He has also observed that it is absolutely necessary that exact time of presentation should be noted as provided for in the form, and in the absence of any such noting of the exact time the benefit therefrom must go to the appellants. The appellate authority also noticed the contention of the opponents that they were detained due to heavy rains and that they could not start early. The appellate authority, therefore, came to the conclusion that the rejection of the nomination papers by the Returning Officer on the ground that they were filed late was not justified.

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