Calcutta High Court

Calcutta High Court: In an appeal challenging the dismissal of writ petition against the election of respondent 14 to the West Bengal Assembly, a division bench comprising of T.S. Sivagnanam, CJ., and Hiranmay Bhattacharyya, J., dismissed the appeal and the connected application due to the appellant’s non-prosecution of the matter. The Court stated that “it seems that the appellant has lost interest in prosecuting the matter.”

In the instant matter, the appellant-writ petitioner, a valid voter of the State of West Bengal, challenged the election of respondent 14 to the West Bengal Assembly in the 2021 elections. The appellant alleged that respondent 14 falsified his educational qualifications while participating as a candidate in the said elections. The appellant sought information under the Right to Information Act regarding the academic qualifications of the respondent, and upon receiving a reply on 14-04-2021, lodged a complaint with the Chief Election Commission of India on 15-04-2021. Additionally, a complaint was registered before the Returning Officer on 02-04-2021, after the election concluded. The Election Commission of India responded to the petitioner’s complaint, asking them to wait, but no definitive action was taken. Consequently, the petitioner filed the writ petition. The Single judge, vide order dated 08-12-2023, held that the criteria for disqualification of the respondent as an election candidate or as a member of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly were not met. The Single judge dismissed the petitioner’s challenge against the election of respondent 14 to the West Bengal Assembly. Aggrieved by the impugned order passed by the Single Judge, the appellant preferred the present appeal challenging the same.

The appellant did not appear before the court. However, the counsel representing West Bengal State Election Commission, State of West Bengal, and the Election Commission of India, were present. The Court noted the absence of the appellant and opined that it appeared the appellant had lost interest in prosecuting the matter. Consequently, the Court dismissed the appeal and the connected application due to non-prosecution.

[Gopal Seth v. Election Commission of India, 2024 SCC OnLine Cal 2756, order dated 19-03-2024]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Ms. Sonal Sinha and Ms. Shabnam Faroqui, Counsel for the West Bengal State Election Commission

Mr. Sk. Md. Galib and Ms. Sujata Mukherjee, Counsel for the State

Mr. Anuran Samanta, Counsel for the Election Commission of India

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