1. [After dealing with the allegations of corrupt practice, which are not relevant for the present report, His Lordship continued.]: -
On behalf of respondent No. 1, it was contended by Mr. Singhvi, that the petitioner has failed to comply with the requirements of Section 81(1) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, inasmuch as the petition should have been presented on or before August 11, 1978, viz. within forty-five days from June 27, 1978 being the date of the election of respondent No. 1. It was urged that the petition having been presented on August 21, 1978 on which day it was entered in the Special Register the mandatory provision of Section 81(1) of the Act, was violated which merited a dismissal of the petition.
2. Section 81(1) deals with the presentation of petitions and, in so as is material, provides that an election petition may be presented within forty-five days from, but not earlier than, the date of election of the returned candidate.
3. The petition was lodged in the office of the Prothonotary and Senior Master on August 10, 1978. Thereafter on August 21, 1978, after office objections were removed, it was entered in the Special Register and on August 22, 1978, the petition was accepted by the Judge and notice was ordered to be issued to the respondents.
4. Presentation of the petition for the purpose of Section 81(1), must necessarily be the date when it was duly handed over to the proper officer in the office of the Prothonotary and Senior Master. This was duly done on August 10, 1978 at 3.15 p.m., viz, within office hours, as appears from the endorsement 'Lodged' on the docket of the petition. This is not disputed. Presentation of the petition must not be confused or identified with its entry in the Special Register or its admission or acceptance by the Judge. These are stages subsequent to the presentation of the petition and cannot arise unless and until the petition is first presented to the proper officer in the Prothonotary's office. Section 81(1) advisedly speaks of presentation, and not of entry in the Special Register or admission or acceptance of the petition by the Judge. Until the petition is duly presented, it will not be entered in the Special Register and until that is done, it will not be placed before the Judge for admission or acceptance. It is at this third stage that notice will be issued to the respondents if the petition is accepted. Even if at this third stage the petition is not for any reason accepted by the Judge, it will be rejected and notices will not be issued to the respondents. That, however, will have no reflection on the earlier date of presentation when the petition is duly handed over to the proper officer in the Prothonotary's office. In coming to this conclusion, I am fortified by an observation of the Division Bench of this Court in Ramgopal v. Ramsarup A I R (1934) Bom 91 : (1933) 36 BomLR 84 :.the plaint, even where leave is required, is presented when it is handed over by the plaintiff or his agent to the proper officer in the Prothonotary's office.
5. In the result, I hold that the petition having been duly handed over to a proper officer in the office of the Prothonotary and Senior Master, on August 10, 1978, was presented on that day within the period required by Section 81(1) of the Act. Mr. Singhvi's contention to the contrary must stand rejected.
6. [The rest of the judgment Is not relevant for the present report.]