Limitation Act not applicable on election petition; appeal filed after the period prescribed under Haryana Panchayati Raj Act held barred by limitation: SC  

Supreme Court: The Bench comprising of CJ Dipak Misra and Dr D.Y. Chandrachud, J. held that the election petition filed after the period of 30 days as mandated under Haryana Panchayati Raj Act, 1994 is barred by limitation.

The appellant was declared a winner in the elections for the post of Ward Councilor. The respondent filed an election petition under Section 176 of the Act challenging the said election. Thereafter, the appellant filed an application under Order 7 Rule 11 CPC for rejection of the petition on the ground that the said petition was not presented in person as required by Section 176. The respondent withdrew the petition. Subsequently, the respondent filed second election petition. Again, the appellant filed an application for rejection, this time on the ground that the petition was filed after the period of 30 days from the date of the election as provided under the said section, thus it was barred by limitation. The respondent filed an application under Section 5 read with Section 14 of the Limitation Act, submitting that the time spent between filing of the first petition and its withdrawal may be excluded while calculating the period of limitation. The trial court admitted the appellant’s application under Order 7 Rule 11 CPC. The appeal preferred by the respondent thereagainst was allowed by a District Judge. The appellant challenged the order of the  District Judge before the High Court which was dismissed vide order impugned. Aggrieved thus, the appellant filed the present appeal.

The Supreme Court perused Section 176 and also referred to Hukum Dev Narain Yadav v. Lalit Narain Mishra, (1974) 2 SCC 133; Charan Lal Sahu v. Nandkishore Bhatt, (1973) 2 SCC 530 and Lachhman Das Arora v. Ganeshi Lal, (1999) 8 SCC 532. It was observed that the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act is a complete code for the presentation of election petitions. The statute mandates that election petition must be filed within a period of 30 days from the date of declaration of election results. The period cannot be extended. The provision of Section 14 of the Limitation Act stands excluded. The legislature having made a specific provision, any election petition which fails to comply with the same is liable to be rejected. Observing that the High Court failed to notice the binding judgments of the Supreme Court, the Court set aside the order impugned. It was held that the election petition filed by the respondent shall be dismissed. Accordingly, the appeal was allowed. [Suman Devi v. Manisha Devi,2018 SCC OnLine SC 1047, dated 21-08-2018]

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