Decided on January 23,1963



Venkatesam, J. - (1.) This is an anneal filed under Section 116-A of the Representation of the People Act against the judgment of Election Tribunal, Warangal in Election O P. No. 2 of 1962 on its file. The short facts necessary for the disposal of this appeal are as follows:
(2.) For the general elections to the Legislative. Assembly of Andhra Pradesh, from Buggaram constituency, A. Mohan Reddy and A. Narayana Reddy contested. On 23-2-1962 the poll took place, and OR 26-2-1962 Narayana Reddy was declared elected by a majority of 314 votes, he having secured 20,814 votes as against his rival who secured 20,500 votes. The validity of this election was questioned by Mohan Reddy before the Tribunal on several, grounds, which need not be mentioned in detail. Suffice it to say that he complained of irregularities in counting of votes, inter alia that a uniform principle was not followed in declaring doubtful votes as invalid with the result that a large number of votes cast in favour of the petitioner was declared invalid, while votes which ought to have been declared invalid were counted in favour of the respondent. It was also alleged that by reason of the counting having taken place continuously for over two days, the counting Officers got fatigued on 25-2-1962, and committed quite a number of mistakes in counting, that they announced that the respondent got 368 votes, and the petitioner got 162 votes, while the fact was otherwise, and that the mistake was rectified when it was pointed out, and; that the petitioner was allowed to have only nine counting agents, though the votes were counted on sixteen tables. He alleged that (1) even though a major portion of the mark of a voter on the ballot paper was engrossed within the space allotted to the petitioner, a number of such ballot papers were declared invalid, and (2) where by reason of the ballot paper-not being folded as per the instructions, the engrossing which was done with wet ink in favour of the petitioner invariably left a re-print on the counter-foil in the same fold, and such papers were declared invalid in an arbitrary manner, and that if a uniform principle were applied in the matter of rejection of votes, as many as 2,400 votes would not have been rejected. On these grounds he prayed that the election of the respondent may be declared as void, that the votes or the ballot papers may be ordered to be recounted before the Tribunal, and the petitioner may be declared elected, or, if the Tribunal came to the conclusion that the respondent committed corrupt practices, the entire election may be quashed.
(3.) The application was opposed by the respondent who denied the several allegations. He contended that there were a large number of invalid votes, that the returning Officer had followed Rules 50 to 57 of the Conduct of Election Rules, and before rejecting any ballot paper he took care to see that the counting agent of each party was allowed to be present, that neither the petitioner nor his agent raised any protest against such rejection, and that in the absence of any such protest, either oral or written, the petitioner shall not be permitted to raise such a plea. The returning Officer correctly and validly rejected the votes as invalid, and the allegation that the votes were rejected to the detriment of the petitioner in the manner alleged was incorrect. It was contended that as the system of marking votes was a new one and as several of the voters were illiterate, a good number of votes had to be declared invalid. There was no partiality by any member of the staff in invalidating any ballot paper, as the duty of giving reasonable opportunity for inspection of the doubtful ballot papers was cast not on them but upon the returning officer, who rejected them in accordance with the Rules.;

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