Madhya Pradesh High Court

Madhya Pradesh High Court: In an election petition filed by the BJP candidate, Sardar Singh Meda, challenging the Congress MLA and Leader of Opposition, Umang Singhar’s election, a single-judge bench comprising of Vijay Kumar Shukla, J., issued a notice to the respondent and other relevant parties to respond to the allegations raised by the petitioner.

The Court noted the BJP candidate, Sardar Singh Meda (petitioner), contested against the Congress MLA and Leader of Opposition, Umang Singhar (respondent), in the 2023 assembly polls for the Gandhwani constituency in Dhar district, Madhya Pradesh. The respondent emerged victorious with a margin of 22,119 votes. Dissatisfied with the outcome, the petitioner filed a petition before this Court challenging respondent’s election. The Court agreed to hear the petition under the Representation of the People Act, wherein the petitioner accused the respondent of adopting corrupt practices, such as intentionally withholding details of his assets, criminal cases, and marital status in his election affidavit and sought a declaration of respondent’s election as void. The Court issued a notice to respondent, the returning officer of Gandhwani constituency, and the other defeated candidates, seeking their response within four weeks.

The Court noted that the respondent 4 filed an application (I.A No.3528/2024) seeking the release of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) used in a previous election. It was stated that the EVMs were currently in the custody of the District Election Officer, Dhar, in accordance with Clause 6.2.2 (III) of edition 8 of the Manual on Electronic Voting Machine issued in August 2023 by the Election Commission of India. 280 EVMs were sealed at Polytechnic College, Dhar, and were intended for use in the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections. The petitioner raised no objection to the release of the EVMs. The Court granted the application and directed that the EVMs related to the election in question should be released for use in the Lok Sabha elections.

[Sardar Singh Meda v. Umang Singhar, 2024 SCC OnLine MP 2049, order dated 12-04-2024]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Shri Lucky Jain and Shri Nimesh Pathak, Counsel for the Petitioners

Shri Santosh Singh Thakur, Public Prosecutor, Counsel for the Respondent No. 4/State

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