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Voters not included in the final voters list alone cannot be a ground for invoking writ jurisdiction, especially when the basis of non-inclusion of voters in the final voters list is based on a reasonable view taken by the Election Officer: Bombay High Court.

The Bombay High court on Monday the 1st of August in the year 2022, declared a judgement in favour of the respondent and dismissed the reasons of the petitioners, who filed for a petition to quash the voters list formulated by the respondent. This judgement was seen in the case of MIDC Prakalpgrasth Majur Sahkari Sanstha, Wagholi, Tq. and Dist. Amravati, through its President Shri Deepak Sukhdeo Khadse & Ors. vs. The District Deputy Registrar and District Co-operative Election Officer, Co-operative Societies, Amravati & Anr.( Writ Petition No. 3318 Of 2022) and the case was decided by The Honourable Mr. Justice Manish Pitale.  

FACTS OF THE CASE:

In this writ petition, the petitioners, are Co-operative Societies and Members of the respondent, which is a Federal / Apex Society and have approached this Court for quashing and setting aside the final voters list published on 15/06/2022, by the respondent no. 1 who are the District Deputy Registrar and the District Co-operative Election Officer of Cooperative Societies, Amravati. They also requested for a further prayer to direct the District Deputy Registrar and others to publish a fresh programme for finalization of voters list. The petitioners asked for an interim direction to restrain the respondent no.1 from publishing election programme of the respondent no.2, the Federal Society.

The respondent No.1 had published the final voters list with more than 85% of the voters i.e. member societies of the respondent no.2, the Federal Society not included in the final voters list, thereby showing that the entire process of finalization of voters list was vitiated. It was submitted that the programme for finalization of voters list was not duly published and even the statutory requirements were not followed, because of which the petitioners were deprived of an opportunity to raise objections at the relevant time.

It was also submitted that the reason for non-inclusion of petitioner societies in the final voters list, was because such societies were allegedly defaulters and this is because they had not paid 1% supervision charges to the respondent No.2, the Federal Society for the works allegedly allotted by the respondent No.2 to the petitioners and other member societies.

JUDGEMENT:

The court in its judgement said the fact that large number of voters are not included in the final voters list alone cannot be a ground for invoking writ jurisdiction, when the basis of non-inclusion of voters in the final voters list is based on a reasonable view taken by the Election Officer, on the basis of material on record and those raising a dispute in that regard are raising questions necessarily pertaining to seriously disputed questions of facts, requiring enquiry and recording of evidence, and that redressal can be sought only by instituting an election dispute under Section 91 of the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act.

The Court found that there is no substance in the contention raised by the petitioners that they were caught unaware because sufficient publicity was not given to the election programme of finalization of voters list and  this was proved to be false because the election programme was published in the daily newspaper “Deshonnati”, it was published on the notice board of the Federal Society, as required by the Act and Rules and a panchanama in that regard was also executed.

In regard to the default in payment of 1% supervision charges, when it was taken up and decided by the Election Officer, the petitioner No.6 and 11 actually paid the said amount and consequently, the names of these two societies were included in the final voters list, thereby showing that they could not have any grievance. This shows that the petitioners did not place all the facts correctly before this Court while invoking writ jurisdiction, thereby indicating another reason why the writ petition ought not to be entertained.

The court found there is no substance in the contentions raised on behalf of the petitioners and the impugned final voters list does not deserve interference. Therefore, the writ petition is dismissed, and the interim relief stands vacated.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY TANAV ZACHARIAH.

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