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Election Petition Can't Be Thrown Out At Threshold If Not Supported By Affidavit: SC

A bench comprising justices S K Kaul and M M Sundresh set aside an order of the Karnataka High Court dismissing an election petition against Prajwal Revanna's win from Hassan Lok Sabha constituency in 2019.

Election Petition Can't Be Thrown Out At Threshold If Not Supported By Affidavit: SC
The Supreme Court, New Delhi. | Jitender Gupta
Election Petition Can't Be Thrown Out At Threshold If Not Supported By Affidavit: SC
outlookindia.com
2021-12-14T17:32:04+05:30

On Monday, the Supreme Court said that an election petition cannot be thrown out at the threshold on a plea of the elected candidate that the petition is not supported by an affidavit, as prescribed under Conduct of Election Rules, 1961.

A bench comprising justices S K Kaul and M M Sundresh set aside an order of the Karnataka High Court dismissing an election petition against Prajwal Revanna's win from Hassan Lok Sabha constituency in 2019. BJP candidate A Manju had challenged the election of Revanna on the grounds that there was allegedly non-disclosure of assets held by him in his election affidavit.

The question for consideration before the apex court was whether an election petition can be thrown out at the threshold on a plea of the respondent/elected candidate that the petition is not supported by an affidavit in Form 25, as prescribed under Rule 94A of Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, even though the petition is based on allegations of corrupt practices.

"We are not persuaded to agree with the conclusion arrived at by the High Court that the non-submission of Form 25 would lead to the dismissal of the election petition," the bench said. The top court said if we look at the election petition, the prayer clause is followed by a verification. "There is also a verifying affidavit in support of the election petition. Thus, factually it would not be appropriate to say that there is no affidavit in support of the petition, albeit not in Form 25.

"This was a curable defect and the learned Judge trying the election petition ought to have granted an opportunity to the appellant to file an affidavit in support of the petition in Form 25 in addition to the already existing affidavit filed with the election petition," the bench said. The bench granted liberty to Manju to file an appropriate affidavit in Form 25 within 15 days from today.

"The further proceedings in the election petition are required to be taken up urgently as almost two and a half years have gone on the preliminary skirmishes rather than the meat of the matter, which we are sure the single Judge of the High Court would so do," the bench said.

The appeal filed by Manju said that Prajwal had resorted to unfair and corrupt practices and his election should be set aside. Prajwal was declared the winner with 6,76,606 votes. Manju came as a first runner up with 5,35,282 votes. 

-With PTI Inputs

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