Case Title: M.L.Ravi vs Chief Election Commissioner
Case No: W.P.Nos.27375 of 2019 & 12684 of 2021
Decided on: 09.01.2024
Coram: The Hon’ble Mr. Sanjay V. Gangapurwala, Chief Justice
The Hon’ble Mr. Justice D. Bharatha Charavarthy
Facts of the Case
The petitioner alleges irregularities in the election process related to respondents 10-14 and 3-10. They claim these candidates illegally contested on a different party’s symbol despite belonging to another party. This allegedly violates guidelines set by the Election Commission under Article 324 of the Constitution and Section 29A of the Representation of People Act, 1951. The petitioner argues that false affidavits were filed claiming non-membership in other parties, and the acceptance forms for these candidates should be declared invalid, rendering their election results null and void.
- Whether the petitioners are members of 2 political parties or one?
- Whether petitioners are members of the political party on whose symbol they contested election?
Article 324 of the Constitution of India, gives power to the Election Commission to direct, control, and conduct elections to all Parliament, to the Legislature of every state and of elections to the offices of the President and Vice President held under the Constitution. It vests the “superintendence, direction and control of elections” in an Election Commission consisting “of the Chief Election Commissioner and such number of other Election Commissioners, if any, as the President may from time to time fix”.
Article 329B of the Constitution of India provides that the election of a legislative candidate can only be assailed by way of an election petition
Section 29A of the Representation of People Act, 1951 talks about Registration with the Election Commission of associations and bodies as political parties
Court Analysis & Decision
The counsel for petitioner during his submission relied on the judgement of supreme court in K.Venkatachalam v. A.Swamickan [Appeal (Civil) 1719 of 1986].
The respondents contesting the election countered the petitioner’s claims by asserting membership in the party whose symbol they used and cite the Election Symbols Order requiring candidates backed by specific state parties to adopt that party’s reserved symbol. Furthermore, they invoke Article 329B of the Constitution, specifying that challenges to legislative election results must be filed through formal election petitions. In essence, they argued their adherence to election rules and emphasize the proper legal course for contesting their victory.
Despite relying on a precedent where an ineligible candidate was disqualified, the court ruled differently in this case. Disputed factual questions surrounding the respondents’ party affiliations made them unsuitable for resolution through a writ petition. The court emphasized the need for proper legal channels like election petitions to address such contested matters, ultimately dismissing the petitioner’s claims.
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Written by- Bhawana Bahety