Kerala High Court: Sunil Thomas, J., allowed the instant petition challenging the rejection order of Returning Officer, wherein nomination application of the petitioner was rejected. The Bench stated,

“Absence of the date and place in the affirmation part does not in any manner substantially affect the contents of the declaration.”

The Petitioner had submitted nomination as a candidate for the election to the governing body of Pallikunnu Dairy Co-operative Society for SC/ST reserved vacancy. The nomination was rejected by the Returning Officer on the premise that the nomination paper was incomplete since place and date was not written in the declaration by the candidate.

Grievances of the petitioner were that the application was complete in all other aspects. While relying on Rule 35A(6)(e)(i) proviso which provided that nomination of a candidate should not be rejected merely on the ground of an incorrect description of the name or of the proposer or of seconder or of any other particulars relating to the candidate if the identity of the candidate, proposer or seconder, as the case may be, was established beyond reasonable doubt.

The Bench while relying on Santhosh v. Joint Registrar, 1994 SCC OnLine Ker 137, observed that appending of signatures by the candidate in declaration and of the proposer and the seconder in nomination was of vital importance. Any defect in it could render the nomination invalid. The Court stated, scrutiny of the nomination by the Returning Officer should be geared to see whether the aforesaid factors had been established, particularly the identity of the candidate, the proposer and the seconder, with reference to their membership in the society.

Noticing that there was no doubt regarding the identity of the candidate the Bench held that, absence of date and place in the affirmation part did not in any manner substantially affect the contents of declaration. Further, incomplete nature of the nomination did not in any manner vitally affect the affirmation.

 Hence, rejection of nomination was held to be legally unsustainable. The nomination of the petitioner was accepted and the impugned order of the Returning Officer was set aside. [Sunil Babu T.C v. Kerala State Co-operative Election Commission,  2021 SCC OnLine Ker 842, decided on 15-02-2021]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

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