Chennai, Aug 4: Madras High Court today rejected P. Chidambarams plea to dismiss a petition filed by his defeated AIADMK rival who had challenged the Union ministers election from Sivaganga in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
The court said hearings in the case could commence in three weeks.
In his application, Chidambaram had said there were defects in the petition filed by R.S. Raja Kannappan, who lost by a wafer-thin margin and alleged manipulation of votes.
The defects had also been noted by the high court registry, but Kannappans lawyer had corrected them, after which the petition was numbered.
High court officials said if a petition was grossly defective, it wouldnt even be numbered, a point Kannappans counsel made while opposing Chidambarams plea.
Justice K. Venkatraman dwelt on the same point while dismissing Chidambarams application. There cannot be any doubt that an election petition filed with defects which cannot be curable cannot be considered as an election petition at the end, the judge said.
However, in the case on hand, the defects pointed out by the officer concerned are not defects which are not curable warranting dismissal of the election petition.
The judge said the application preferred by Chidambaram is liable to be rejected and accordingly rejected.
In his June 2009 petition, Kannappan alleged that Chidambarams election deserved to be declared void because of manipulation of votes and corrupt practices by him, his election agents and others with his consent. He sought a recount of votes polled in the entire constituency.
Kannappan had lost the election by 3,354 votes after a close fight during which the leads kept changing. The narrow victory was announced by the returning officer after Chidambaram had left the counting venue after Kannappan had re-established a slender lead.
On her trip to Delhi this June, Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa, too, had sought Chidambarams resignation, saying the Union minister won by fraudulent means. The AIADMK leader said Chidambaram was announced the victor because of a fraud committed by a data entry operator.
The home minister had shot back, saying her statement was a gross contempt of court as the petition was still pending.