BAWA BACHITTAR SINGH Vs. ELECTION COMMISSION
HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA
Bawa Bachittar Singh
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Khosla, J. -
(1.) THIS is a petition by Bawa Bachittar Singh under article 226 of the Constitution praying for a writ of certiorari that the proceedings of the Election Tribunal relating to an election petition be sent to this court and the order of the Tribunal dated the 28th of November, 1953, whereby the petitioner's election petition was dismissed quashed. The petitioner stood for election to the Delhi Legislative Assembly from the Jhandewalan Constituency. Girdhari Lal Salwan, respondent No. 5, was also candidate for the same constituency. The result of the election was that Girdhari Lal Salwan secured a majority of votes. He was accordingly declared the successful candidate. The petitioner then filed an election petition on a number of grounds. He alleged that the respondent, i.e., Girdhari Lal Salwan, had been guilty of corrupt practices in the conduct of the election and his election was, therefore, liable to be set aside. Evidence was produced by both parties and the Tribunal finally came to the conclusion that the petitioner, Bawa Bachittar Singh, had failed to substantiate his allegations. His petition was accordingly dismissed. In moving this court it is contended on his behalf that the Tribunal acted without jurisdiction and in defiance of law, in that it adopted wholly invalid principles in assessing the evidence produced by the parties and in rejecting the testimony of a number of witnesses examined by the petitioner. It is also contended that the Tribunal had not framed certain issues which arose out of the pleadings and findings on issues Nos. 7 and 8 were wholly erroneous and against law.
(2.) A three -fold preliminary objection was raised by Mr. Charanjit Lal who contended that - -
(1) article 329(b) of the Constitution was a bar to the petition;
(2) a writ of certiorari could only issue to a subordinate court and the Election Tribunal was not a court subordinate to the High Court, and so the orders of the Tribunal could not be called into question before the High Court; and
(3) none of the grounds set out in the petition were grounds upon which a petition for writ could appropriately be based.
The third objection is clearly an objection on merits. With regard to the first objection, it is sufficient to say that article 329(b) of the Constitution does not debar a petition of this nature. It merely prevents anyone from calling into question an election except by means of an election petition which is in the manner provided by law. The petitioner before us is not challenging the election. He is challenging the validity of the order passed by the Election Tribunal and if the petitioner is successful the election will not be set aside. Only the order of the Election Tribunal dismissing the election petition will be interfered with. The most that this court can do is to direct that the Tribunal decide the election petition in a lawful manner. Therefore, article 329(b) is no bar to a petition for a writ directed against an Election Tribunal.
(3.) WITH regard to the second objection, it is not necessary that the person or Tribunal or authority to whom the writ is issued should be subordinate to the High Court. The wording of article 226 makes it quite clear that the writ may issue "to any person or authority, including in appropriate cases any Government," within the territory in relation to which the High Court exercises jurisdiction. It cannot be denied that the Election Tribunal is an authority within the jurisdiction of this court and, therefore, this court can issue a direction to it in appropriate cases.;
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