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Whatever votes obtained through undue influence are deemed to be wastes or invalid: High Court of Manipur

Non-disclosure of information would constitute a corrupt practice falling under heading ‘undue influence’ as defined under Section 123(2) of the RP Act, 1951. Hence, the election of the respondent is declared to be null and void. This was said in the case of Shri Yumkham Erabot Singh vs Shri Okram Henry Singh Singh [Election Petition No.2 of 2017] by Justice M.V. Muralidaran in the High Court of Manipur.

The facts of the case are that an Election Petition was filed by the Petitioner under Section 100(1)(d)(i) and (iv) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 to seek declaration of election of the  Congress leader Okram Henry Singh (Wangkhei Assembly Constituency) as null and void for non-disclosure of information in the election affidavit. Further, the Petitioner also prayed for passing an Order for initiation of Criminal proceedings against the Respondent No. 1 under Section 125A and 127 of the Representation of People Act, 1951.

The petitioner contended that the respondent had deliberately misrepresented his educational qualification and concealed pending criminal cases against him under sec. 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act, sec. 420 of IPC and NDPS Act in his affidavit for the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly elections 2017 to the Election Commission of India.

On the other hand, the respondent contended that the defect alleged by the Petitioner is merely an improper filling of the date concerning the NDPS case in wrong Column due to in-advertence. They further contended that it is not a case of suppression or absolute non-compliance since a bare perusal of the Affidavit would demonstrate that the details of the case are completely disclosed including the fact that charges were yet to be framed.

The Court after perusal of the facts and contentions observed that there was no bonafide mistake and inadvertence in filling up of his Affidavit. It observed that “The Respondent No. 1 ought to have disclosed the details information where the Respondent No. 1 is involved in the Criminal Case as per format provided by the statutory Rules. However, in the present Case, the Respondent No.1 despite having full knowledge of the Special Trial Case where no charge has been framed against him, the Respondent No. 1 failed to disclose in proper place and also details of information of Criminal Cases pending against him and details of his Educational Qualification as provided by the statutory Rules which is in complete violation of the provisions in the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 and rules thereof”.

Furthermore, it said that “the alleged crime committed by the Respondent is relating with the smuggling of Narcotic Drugs which is one of the heinous crime against the society and the acts committed amounts to corrupt practice within the meaning of “Undue Influence” which is provided by the Section 123 (2) of the RP, Act, 1951 and whatever votes obtained by the respondent through undue influence are deemed to be wastes or invalid”. Hence, the petition was accepted and election of the respondent was declared to be null and void. Other than that, the Court declared that the petitioner is duly elected as a member of 15-Wangkhei Assembly Constituency.

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