Kerala High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of P. Somarajan, J. held that submission of more than three nomination papers by a candidate cannot be a ground for rejection of his nomination under the Kerala Panchayat Raj Act, 1994.

Background of the matter was that a candidate’s election was challenged by the petitioner on the ground of non-compliance of requirement under Section 52(6) of the Act stating that instead of three nomination papers, four nomination papers were submitted by the candidate and hence his nomination had been improperly accepted by the returning officer. 

Election petition setting aside the said candidate’s election was allowed by the learned Munsiff but this order was reversed by the appellate court. The order of appellate authority was challenged in the instant revision petition.

The sole question for Court’s consideration was as to whether submission of more than three nomination papers would vitiate the election of returned candidate.

 It was held that mere irregularity in respect of a nomination paper or a defect which is not substantial in nature shall not be a ground for rejection of nomination. Sections 55(2) and 55(3) of the Act clearly states that it is not permissible to reject a nomination paper merely on any irregularity or a defect which is not substantial in nature. It also relied on the decision in Dadi Veerahadra Rao v. Returning Officer, 2005 SCC OnLine AP 361 to hold that in view of proviso to Section 52(6) of the Act, in a case where the returning officer is presented more than three nominations by or on behalf of any candidate, one of the nominations can be deemed to be rejected.

In view of the above, the Court held that submission of four nominations instead of three by the candidate in question was only an irregularity which would not cause any substantial defect either in the acceptance of nomination or in the conduct of election. As such, the revision petition was dismissed.[K.G. Kuriakose v. Mohanan Velayudhan,2018 SCC OnLine Ker 4912, decided on 23-10-2018]

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