The petition stands allowed and disposed of by HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH AT INDORE in the case of SMT. SHAMABAI V. PANCHAYAT AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT through HON’BLE JUSTICE SUBODH ABHYANKAR
FACTS OF THE CASE
The facts of the case are that the election of Panchayat for the State of Madhya Pradesh has been declared by the State Election Commission and thus the election of Gram Panchayat, Manasa, District – Neemuch has also been declared. After the notification of election, petitioner submitted her Form for contesting in the election of Member Zila Gram Panchayat., however, the aforesaid Form was opposed by the respondent No.5 by filing the objection on 07.06.2022, before the Returning Officer on the ground of false information furnished by the petitioner as also the incomplete affidavit filed by the petitioner. Aforesaid objection of the respondent No.5 was replied to by the petitioner and the objection has been decided by the Returning Officer vide impugned order dated 06.02.2022, holding that in the Form submitted by the petitioner, which was in respect of sales tax, she has left the columns blank. The case of the petitioner is that leaving the aforesaid entry blank was a genuine human error and ought to have been allowed to be rectified by the Returning Officer by informing the petitioner in writing, which is also the mandate of the guidelines issued by the Election Commission in this behalf.
In the present case the objections were filed by the respondent No.5. A reply to which was also filed by the petitioner and the Returning Officer has simply decided the said objection holding that certain columns of the Nomination Form were left blanks. Thus, instead of giving the petitioner an opportunity to cure the defects, the Returning Officer has very conveniently rejected her nomination paper, which in the considered opinion of this Court is not only runs contrary to the guidelines issued by the Election Commission, but in the light of the aforesaid guidelines, it also appears that the rejection of nomination paper of the petitioner was in arbitrary exercise of powers vested in the Returning Officer to deprive the petitioner to contest the election. In the circumstances, it cannot also be said that the rejection of nomination paper was on such a complicated ground, the recourse against which can only be taken in an election petition. In view of the same, the impugned order dated 07.06.2022 cannot be sustained and is hereby quashed and the Returning Officer is directed to allow the petitioner to cure the defect within three days time and proceed further as per the election programme. With the aforesaid, present petition stands allowed and disposed of.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY SHREYA NIDHI