MAHENDRA PAL Vs. RAM DASS MALANGER
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: HIMACHAL PRADESH)
RAM DASS MALANGER
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Shah, J. -
(1.)This appeal under S. 116-A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (hereinafter referred to as "the Act") is filed against the final judgment and order dated 4-5-2001 passed by the High Court of Himachal Pradesh at Shimla in Election Petition No. 1 of 1998.
(2.)The election petition was filed by the appellant for setting aside the election of respondent No. 1. It is submitted that the appellant contested the election as a candidate sponsored by the Indian National Congress while respondent No. 1 contested the election as candidate sponsored by the Bhartiya Janta Party. Appellant secured 11,657 votes and respondent No. 1 secured 11,660 votes. Therefore, respondent No. 1 was declared elected by a margin of three votes only. It was alleged that the said election result was vitiated because of improper reception of invalid votes in favour of respondent No. 1 and improper rejection of valid votes in favour of appellant. It was also contended that many irregularities were committed during the course of counting which had materially affected the result of election insofar as the returned candidate is concerned. It was pointed out that total number of ballot papers which were shown to have been distributed were 35310, but after counting the votes, ballot papers as per Form 20-A were shown to be 35318, which indicated that eight votes which had been counted in excess had been illegally counted in favour of the returned candidate.
(3.)Firstly it is to be stated that election petition filed by the appellant was rejected on preliminary issue namely - election petition lacks in material facts and particulars and do not furnish a cause of action, as alleged. That order was challenged before this Court in Civil Appeal No. 4085 of 1998 and this Court allowed the appeal by judgment and order dated 27-10-1999 reported as Mahendra Pal vs. Ram Dass Malanger and others (2000) 1 SCC 261, by holding that election petition did contain an adequate statement of material facts on which the allegations of irregularities and illegalities in counting were founded. The Court, therefore, directed the designated Judge to decide the election petition afresh on merits expeditiously.
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