HC rejects MNF plea on polls

Aizawl: The Aizawl bench of Gauhati High Court has rejected the Mizo National Front's (MNF) plea against a returning officer's decision in disqualifying an MNF candidate prior to the Chakma Autonomous District Council polls held in April, court officials said on Sunday.

Lawngtlai deputy commissioner and returning officer of the election N. Chakhai had disqualified Sumir Tongchongya, the MNF candidate from Fultuli constituency, after scrutiny on April 5 on the ground that his nominee was a government servant and declared his rival Congress candidate elected unopposed.

Challenging the officer's decision, the MNF had filed a writ petition in April as a result of which Gauhati High Court stayed election in Fultuli when the council polls were held on April 20.

Court officials said the high court had rejected the plea on Friday after observing the RO's decision "right" and "valid".

High court judge Justice N. Sailo, in his verdict, stated that no government servant and their relatives are allowed to be involved in politics.

He rejected the petition by stating that the decision to reject a candidate's candidature owing to his nominee being a government servant was the "right call".

With the high court's order, the returning officer's decision in declaring Congress candidate Kali Kumar Tongchongya "elected unopposed" has been re-validated.

General elections to the 20-member council were held on April 20. The MNF had emerged as the single largest party by bagging eight seats, while the Congress won six and the BJP opened its account with five seats. With Friday's verdict, the Congress has seven members, one member short of the MNF in the district council.

The council, which is being run by the Congress-BJP coalition government, is an autonomous council for ethnic Chakma people living in south-western Mizoram's Lawngtlai district bordering Bangladesh and Myanmar.

The district was formed under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution in 1972, along with the Mara Autonomous District Council and the Lai Autonomous District Council.


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