The Supreme Court of India, through learned judges, Justices SK Kaul and MM Sundresh in the case of Usha Kaushik v State of Bihar & Ors| SLP 10563/2022 (Special Leave to Appeal (C) Nos. 10563-10565/2022) stayed Patna HC Judgement that permitted elected persons disqualified for having more than two Children to continue as Panchayat members.
BRIEF FACTS: In the present matter, the petitioner had preferred a complaint before the State Election Commission alleging that Vijay Paswan, Punam Devi and Saryug Mochi contested elections of the Ward Councillors of Naubatpur, Patna by giving wrong information regarding their children. The complaint was filed by referring to the provisions of section 18(1) (m) with respect to section 18(2) of the Bihar Municipality Act, 2007 which disqualified a candidate in local body election if he had more than two living children after the cut off date of April 5, 2008. The Commission heard the petition and reserved the judgement. However, since it didn’t deliver its verdict for more than five months, the petitioner approached the High Court by way of a writ and the same was disposed of by granting liberty to the petitioner to appear before the Commission for rehearing. Since the commission disqualified the three elected members, they approached the High Court and contended that they were not granted sufficient opportunity by the Enquiry Officer. Referring to the judgement in Rajani Kumari v State Election Commission the High Court granted the relief and imposed a cost of Rs 5000 on the State Election Commission.
FINDINGS OF THE COURT: The court ordered the counter affidavit to be filed within four weeks and rejoinder to be filed within two weeks thereafter. In the meantime, the court observed that the operation of the impugned judgement is stayed but the elected persons will continue to participate as members of the Panchayat. The court further directed the parties to also file short synopsis running into not more than 3 pages each.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY – AMRUTHA K