The right to participate in an election is an elementary right available to the members of an organisation: Karnataka High Court

No harm or prejudice would be caused to the appellants if the plaintiff was permitted to participate in the electoral process. Such an opinion was held by The Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka before The Hon’ble Mr. Justice N.S. Sanjay Gowda in the matter of Rt. Rev Prasanna Kumar Samuel and ors Vs. Mr. Franklin  James [M.F.A. No. 5148/2021(CPC)]. 

The facts of the case were associated with a Synod-Matter Enquiry report pending disposal of the suit dated 19.07.2021 wherein the Trial Court had restrained the defendants/appellants from giving effect to the resolution. Furthermore, the appellants were restrained by the Trial Court from preventing the plaintiff to exercise votes in any of the elections conducted by the 4th and 5th defendants other than the elections that prohibit to contest under Chapter VII Rule 12(E) of the Constitution. Thereby, the Trial Court in the interim order permitted the plaintiff to cast vote and contest in elections. 

The counsel, Sri B.M Arun argued that it was not made clear by the Trial Court if the Returning Officer could reject the application if the plaintiff was ineligible. While, the counsel, Miss Sanjana Rao representing the respondents contended that Returning Officer was always open to reject the nomination paper. Moreover, it was also submitted that the plaintiff was entitled to participate in the election as they didn’t suffer any disqualification. 

The Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka considering all the submissions ruled out that “ In view of the fact that both the parties are in agreement that the nomination paper of the plaintiff can be considered in accordance with the Constitution of the Church of South India, 2016 and in accordance with the law, the interim order granted by the Trial Court does not, in any way, prejudices either of them. I, therefore, find no reason to entertain this appeal and the appeal is rejected subject, however, to the observation made above.”

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Judgment reviewed by Bipasha Kundu

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