Pattanaik, J. -
(1.)This appeal is directed against the order dated 16th June, 2000, passed in Election Petition No. 29 of 1999. The aforesaid election petition had been filed by the appellant, challenging the validity of the election to the House of People from the Bangalore North Parliamentary Constituency, in which election, respondent No. 1 was declared to have been elected. In the election petition, the Election Commissioner, the Returning Officer and the Chief Electoral Officer of the State of Karnataka had been arrayed as respondents 6, 7 and 8. Those respondents filed an application before the High Court of Karnataka for their deletion inter alia on the ground that under S. 82 of the Representation of the People Act, it has been clearly indicated that who should be the parties to an election petition and since they have been unnecessarily impleaded, they should be deleted. The High Court by the impugned judgment having deleted the said respondents 6, 7 and 8 from the array of parties, the present appeal has been preferred.
(2.)Mr. R. Venkataramani, the learned senior counsel appearing for the appellant contended that the election petition having been filed, challenging the validity of the election of respondent No. 1, on the grounds contained in S. 100(1)(d)(iii)(iv) and non-compliance with the provisions of the Constitution and the Rules by the election machinery having been allowed, respondents 7 and 8 at least ought to have been held to be proper parties and there could not have been an order of deletion. According to the learned counsel, these respondents 7 and 8 having failed to conform to the mandatory guidelines enacted by the Election Commission of India, as contained in the hand book of the Returning Officer and those guidelines being treated as an integral part of the rules as well as Art. 324 of the Constitution, respondents 7 and 8 became proper parties to the election petition, in view of the nature of allegations pertaining to their official conduct. That being the position, the learned single Judge, who was in session of the matter, erroneously deleted the said respondents 7 and 8. Mr. Venkataramani however seriously does not challenge the order of deletion, so far as respondent No. 6 is concerned.
(3.)Mr. S. Muralidhar, the learned counsel appearing for the Election Commission, on the other hand submitted that the question of parties to an election petition is concluded by two earlier decisions of this Court in case of Jyoti Basu and others vs. Debi Ghosal and others, (1982) 1 SCC 691 and B. Sundara Rami Reddy vs. Election Commission of India and others, (1991) 2 Suppl. SCC 624 and, therefore, the High Court was wholly justified in directing the deletion of those respondents from the array of parties and by such deletion, there has been no illegality requiring interference by this Court. Mr. Muralidhar, further contended that the Representation of the People Act being a full code by itself, prescribing the procedure to be followed and indicating the parties to be arrayed to an election petition and respondents 7 and 8, not coming within the ambit of the said provision, the High Court rightly deleted them and that order need not be interfered with by this Court. The learned counsel lastly urged that in view of the nature of allegations made, the person making those allegations is required to prove the same and, therefore, there is no justifiable reason, why the Election Officer or the Returning Officer should be permitted to be added as a party to the election petition.