Patna, Feb. 6: The Patna High Court on Wednesday set aside the election of JD(U) Lok Sabha member from Khagaria Dinesh Chandra Yadav on the ground that one of the contestants’ nomination papers were wrongly rejected.
“Since Form 26 is not a part of nomination papers, that’s why any defect in it (Form 26) shall not result in the rejection of nomination papers. Therefore, the rejection of nomination papers was improper and such election of the candidate is set aside. The Election Commission is being directed to take steps for re-polling,” a bench of Justice V.N. Sinha said.
The court passed the judgment while hearing a petition filed by Satya Narayan Singh, the CPI candidate whose nomination papers were rejected by the returning officer during the general elections in 2009.
The returning officer had rejected the nomination papers on the ground that Singh had not filed an affidavit in Form 26, which makes it mandatory for a candidate to furnish details regarding his or her criminal antecedents, if any, and the number of criminal cases pending against him or her. The form also makes it compulsory for the candidate to mention if he or she has been sentenced for more than two years.
Singh had challenged the rejection order passed by the returning officer in the high court. He urged the court to quash the rejection order, set aside the Khagaria Lok Sabha election and issue an order for re-election.
Concurring with the arguments of senior advocate Prabhat Kumar Verma and advocate Ujjwal Kumar Sinha, the bench allowed the petition of Singh holding that Form 26 is not the part of nomination papers rather it is an affidavit giving details of one’s criminal antecedents.
Verma contended that any defect in Form 26 should not result in the rejection of nomination papers because it is not a part of nomination papers and there is no such ground provided in the Representation of People’s Act (RPA), 1951, to reject the papers on the ground of defect in it (Form 26).
“The RPA has mentioned the grounds on which the nomination papers could be rejected and this ground (defect arising due to non furnishing of Form 26) is not mentioned in the list for rejection,” he contended during the course of hearing.
Refuting the petitioner’s contentions, SBK Mangalam, along with advocate Ravi Ranjan, appearing for the Khagaria MP, submitted that Form 26 “is a part of nomination papers and even if it is not a part of these, a nomination paper is not completed unless it is filed with an affidavit in Form 26, which is a mandatory disclosure according to the Supreme Court judgment and provisions (Section 33-a of RPA, 1951.
Mangalam said: “We are contemplating to either move the high court for a stay on the order or move the Supreme Court, appealing with a prayer for a stay (the order).”