Madhya Pradesh High Court dismisses petition challenging BJP leader Pragya Thakur’s 2019 Lok Sabha Election

Madhya Pradesh High Court


Madhya Pradesh High Court | Vishal Dhagat, J., dismissed the election petition filed by the petitioner, after giving repeated opportunities to appear before the Court, for want of prosecution.

In the instant matter, the petitioner, Rakesh Dixit, filed an election petition challenging the 2019 Lok Sabha election of BJP MP Sadhvi Pragya Thakur from Bhopal on grounds that he gave communal speeches and incited religious sentiments to win the polls, thereby violating S. 123 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

S. 123 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 deals with corrupt practices, including making an appeal to vote or not to vote for any person on the ground of religion, race, caste, community or language.

The counsel for respondent contended that that election petition cannot be dismissed for non-appearance and must be heard on merits.

The Court noted that even after repeated opportunities were granted to the petitioner to argue the case on preliminary issue i.e., on 11-10-2022, 23-11-2022 and 29-11-2022, neither the petitioner nor his counsel appeared before this Court.

The Court observed that issue related to dismissing election petition for want of prosecution is settled in P. Nalla Thampy Thera v. B.L. Shanker, 1984 Supp SCC 631, where it is held that “Dismissal of an election petition for default of appearance of the petitioner under the provisions of either Order XI or Order XVII of the Code would, therefore, be valid and would not be open to challenge on the ground that these provisions providing for dismissal of the election petition for default do not apply” and Gurmesh Bishnoi v. Bhajan Lal, 2002 SCC OnLine P&H 361, where it was held that “I have no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that an election petition can be dismissed for default or for non-prosecution, as the case may be, if the order is otherwise called for. The Court can hardly compel an unwilling party to prosecute its litigation even if such inaction may spring from negligence, indifference or even incapacity or inability. The power to dismissal of election petition is inherent power which every Tribunal possesses.”

Thus, the Court dismissed the election petition for want of prosecution.

[Rakesh Dixit v. Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, 2022 SCC OnLine MP 5170, decided on 12-12-2022]

Advocate who appeared in this case :

Arpan Pawar, Counsel for the Respondent No. 1

*Ritu Singh, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.

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