Decided on September 03,1963

Bapineedu Respondents


VENKATESAM,J. - (1.) This special appeal is directed against the "order of the Election Tribunal, Eluru, in Election Petition No. 134 of 1962, on his file. It was filed by one Koduri Krishnarao (Petitioner) against Alluri Bapineedu (hereinafter referred to as the first respondent) and two others, under Sections 81 and 83 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, for a declaration that he has been duly elected to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly at the General Elections held on 19-2-1962, from Kovvur Constituency in West Godavari district, and that the election of the 1st Respondent is void, or in the alternative to set aside election and order of fresh election, or to order a recount of ballot papers polled in the election, and other reliefs.
(2.) The Petitioner stood as an independent candidate and had chosen the symbol of a cycle, while the 1st Respondent contested the election as a Congress candidate whose symbol was a pair of bullocks and a yoke. Respondent 2 stood for the Republican party and Respondent No.3 as an independent candidate and they not only lost their election, but also their deposits. 1st Respondent secured 27,873 votes, while the Petitioner got 27,666 votes, and consequently the 1st Respondent was declared elected by a majority of 207 votes. The validity of the election was challenged on several grounds, inter alia, that out of the total number of votes polled, as many as 1,900 were declared invalid by the Returning Officer on insufficient and improper grounds, and that the majority of them should have been counted for the Petitioner. The voters whose votes had been rejected expressed their intention and preference unequivocally by marking with the rubber stamp clearly on the Petitioner's symbol. Nonetheless, the Returning Officer unjustly rejected such votes, though there was no other mark. Further, on account of some of the illiterate voters refolding the ballot paper breadth-wise after putting the stamp, some ink might have been found in the space opposite to the stamp mark, and such votes also were rejected as invalid. Thus, large number of votes cast in favour of the Petitioner were improperly rejected by the Returning Officer, and if they were taken into account, the Petitioner would have been declared elected. It was also alleged that in Penakanametta Polling Station some of the ballot papers on which the votes were cast in favour of the 1st Respondent did not contain the mark which they should have under sub-rule (1) of Rule 38 of the Conduct of Election Rules, and they should have been rejected. Other grounds also were alleged, but it is not necessary to advert to them.
(3.) The petition was opposed by the 1st Respondent who denied all the allegations, and averred that under the rules the ballot papers had to be folded in the manner specified as otherwise it would violate the principle of secrecy, and as such they should be declared invalid. The Returning Officer could reject a ballot paper under Rule 55 if it bears any mark by which the elector can be in-identified, or if the mark indicating the vote is placed in such a manner as to make it doubtful to which candidate the vote has been given, or if votes are given to more than one candidate. The said rules were strictly followed by the Returning Officer and as such the rejection by him was not improper or invalid. Out of the rejected votes, the 1st Respondent lost more than the Petitioner himself. At any rate, as already stated, the Petitioner not having raised any objection to the rejection of the votes by the Returning Officer, he is not entitled to raise this plea in the election petition. The Petitioner had not given any particulars of the votes wrongly rejected, and that vague allegations did not deserve any scrutiny.;

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