Case BriefsHigh Courts

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]

Case BriefsForeign Courts

Supreme Court of Pakistan: A Three-Judge bench comprising of Umar Ata Bandial, Faisal Arab and Sajjad Ali Shah, JJ. while hearing an appeal in relation to disqualification of a parliamentarian, ruled that a parliamentarian can be disqualified under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan only when he has dishonestly concealed his assets.

Petitioner’s appointment to public office was challenged by the respondent before the Islamabad High Court alleging that while holding office in Pakistan, petitioner was serving a UAE based company as its full-time employee. Respondent’s constitution petition for quo warranto was allowed by the High Court and the petitioner was disqualified as a member of the National Assembly. This order was challenged in the instant petition.

Petitioner submitted that he only rendered advice on the phone to the company and was not required to be physically present in UAE. Also, since the salary received from the company had already been spent by him, therefore its details were not mentioned in his nomination paper.

The Supreme Court observed that the entire purpose behind seeking details of assets and liabilities under election laws is to discourage persons who have wrongfully acquired assets, from contesting elections. Therefore, in a proceeding brought under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution, Court must first call upon the elected member to explain the source from which the alleged undisclosed asset was acquired. Where no satisfactory explanation is forthcoming from him and the undeclared asset is not commensurate with his known sources of income, a presumption of unlawful means having been used in relation to that asset arises. Relying on its decision in Muhammad Hanif Abbasi v. Imran Khan Niazi (PLD 2018 SC 189) the Court held that unless a member is found guilty of dishonest concealment of assets in appropriate judicial proceedings, Article 62(1)(f) cannot be invoked to disqualify him for life.

It was observed that though it was highly inappropriate for a parliamentarian to take a full-time job in a foreign country, but it seemed highly improbable that a person holding such a position would actually be rendering his services as a full-time employee elsewhere. Thus, the petition was allowed holding that since no undeclared proceeds from UAE company existed at the time of filing of petitioner’s nomination papers, therefore no case of concealment of assets was made out. [Khawaja Muhammad Asif v. Muhammad Usman Dar, Civil Petition No.1616 of 2018, decided on 19-10-2018]