Decided on September 01,1953

S.M. Patnaik Respondents


Lingaraj Panigrahi, J. - (1.) AT the conclusion of the hearing of this petition on the 1st September, 1953, we intimated our decision to the parties and took time to formulate our reasons for our order. I now proceed to set out the reasons for dismissing the petition.
(2.) THE petitioners, four in number, are residents of Berhampur municipality in Ganjam district and were registered as voters in the electoral roll prepared in the year 1950. At the general election held in January, 1952, two candidates were returned to the Orissa State Legislative Assembly from the Berhampur constituency, but their election was set aside on the 17th March, 1953, by an order of the Election Tribunal in Election Case No. 4 of 1952. A bye -election was directed to be held under section 150 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (Act XLIII of 1951) and the 7th of May, 1953, was fixed as the last date for receiving nominations and the 14th of June, 1953, for conducting the poll. On the 7th May, one Sri Gadi Narayanamurti, an advocate of Berhampur, whose name had been registered in the electoral roll of 1950 filed his nomination paper, but the Returning Officer, Berhampur constituency, who is the opposite party No. 1 in these proceedings, rejected the nomination paper on the ground that his name was not found in the new electoral roll prepared in 1952. On the 20th May, 1953, the petitioners filed this petition under article 226 of the Constitution impleading the Returning Officer who was also the Electoral Registration Officer for the Berhampur constituency, as opposite party No. 1, and the other candidates whose nominations had been accepted, as opposite parties 2 to 6. The petitioners have prayed for the issue of a writ "in the nature of mandamus or any other order directing opposite party No. 1 to treat the first prepared roll of 1950 as the existing electoral roll for the purpose of the bye -election, and direct him not to conduct the election on the basis of the illegal electoral roll prepared in 1952." The contention on behalf of the opposite party No. 1 is that on the 7th August, 1952, a press note was published informing the public that a new electoral roll for the Orissa State Legislative Assembly was being draft -published and that objections were invited from electors whose names might have been omitted from the roll. It is further stated that a fresh roll was prepared after a house to house enquiry in the Berhampur municipality as it was not possible to prepare a mere list of additions and amendments, owing to the fact that there had been a complete re -distribution of the several municipal wards since the preparation of the last electoral roll in 1950; and that a new electoral roll, incorporating the additions and amendments, was draft published on the 7th August, 1952, in a single roll, superseding the previous electoral roll of the year 1950. The final publication of this new electoral roll was made on 31st January, 1953.
(3.) IT is contended for the petitioners that the preparation of a new electoral roll in 1952, superseding the earlier roll of 1950, is illegal and contrary to the provisions contained in the rules framed under the Representation of the People Act, 1950 (Act XLIII of 1950) and that accordingly the old electoral roll should be deemed to be still in force. It is, therefore, prayed that the elections should be held on the basis of the electoral roll of the year 1950, and the Returning Officer should be directed, by a writ of mandamus, to conduct the election on the basis of that roll.;

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