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Mohd. Ilyas Vs. District Judge, Budaun and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectElection
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ No. 4089 of 1972
Judge
Reported inAIR1972All534
ActsUttar Pradesh Municipalities Act, 1916 - Sections 20 and 23; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) - Order 6, Rule 17
AppellantMohd. Ilyas
RespondentDistrict Judge, Budaun and ors.
Appellant AdvocateS.K. Tewari and ;V.S. Saxena, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateS.C.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
.....already taken - no new ground - limitation under sections 20 of limitation act expired - held, election tribunal constituted under the u.p. municipalities act has full power to allow amendment. - - learned counsel has failed to point out any provision of the act or the rules thereunder which may be inconsistent with the provision for amendment contained in order vi, rule 17. it is no doubt true that while allowing the amendment the tribunal has no power to allow an election petitioner to introduce by way of amendment a new ground of challenge which may not have been taken in the petition. the addition of five names was well within the ground raised by the election petitioner. the petition was allowed tobe amended in this respect which in our opinion was perfectly justified and..........application for amending the election petition. the district judge, budaun, who constituted the election tribunal allowed the amendments sought for by respondent no. 2 by his order dated 17th april, 1972. the petitioner has challenged the legality of the order of the election tribunal by means of the present petition under article 226 of the constitution. 2. sri s. n. misra, learned counsel for the petitioner has firstly urged that under the provisions of the u. p. municipalities act, 1916, the election tribunal had no power or jurisdiction to allow amendment of the election petition. the impugned order of the election tribunal, according to the learned counsel has been passed in excess of its jurisdiction. 3. we do not find any merit in this contention. section 19 of the u. p......
Judgment:

K.N. Singh, J.

1. The petitioner and respondents Nos. 2 to 7 contested the election of the Municipal Board, Budaun, held in May, 1971 from Ward No. 6 which was a double-member constituency. Petitioner Mohd. Ilyas and respondent No. 3, Tribeni Sahai, were declared elected. Respondent No. 2, Kunwar Bahadur, filed an election petition before the District Judge, Budaun, challenging the election of the petitioner on several grounds. The petitioner filed a written statement and raised certain objections about the vagueness of the pleadings. Respondent No. 2 the election petitioner thereupon filed an amendment application for amending the election petition. The District Judge, Budaun, who constituted the Election Tribunal allowed the amendments sought for by respondent No. 2 by his order dated 17th April, 1972. The petitioner has challenged the legality of the order of the Election Tribunal by means of the present petition under Article 226 of the Constitution.

2. Sri S. N. Misra, learned Counsel for the petitioner has firstly urged that under the provisions of the U. P. Municipalities Act, 1916, the Election Tribunal had no power or jurisdiction to allow amendment of the election petition. The impugned order of the Election Tribunal, according to the learned Counsel has been passed in excess of its jurisdiction.

3. We do not find any merit in this contention. Section 19 of the U. P. Municipalities Act (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act') lays down that the election of any person elected as a member of the Municipal Board may be questioned by an election petition on the grounds mentioned therein which include the ground of corrupt practice, improper rejection or admission of votes and disqualification of the elected candidate. Section 20 provides for the form and presentation of the election petition. According to this section an election petition is required to be presented within thirty days after the date on which the result of the election is announced by the Returning Officer. The election petitioner is required to specify the ground or grounds on which the election of the returned, candidate is questioned and the petition should contain a concise statement of the material facts on which the election petitioner relies and it should further set forth full particulars of any corrupt practice which the election petitioner may allege including as full astatement as possible of the names of the parties alleged to have committed such corrupt practices and the date and place of the commission of each such practice. The petition is required to be signed and verified in accordance with the provisions contained in the Code of Civil Procedure. Section 22 provides that an election petition not complying with the provisions of Section 20 shall be rejected by the Tribunal. Section 23 lays down the procedure which is to be followed by the Election Tribunal for the trial of the petition. The procedure provided in the Civil Procedure Code in regard to the trial of the suits is made applicable in so far as it is not inconsistent with the provisions of the Act or any rule made thereunder. Section 24 of the Act prescribes the powers of the Election Tribunal according to which the Election Tribunal shall have the same powers and privileges as a Judge of the Civil Court.

4. In our opinion the provisions contained in the Civil Procedure Code for the amendment of plaint in a suit apply to the amendment of an election petition under the Act. There is no provision under the U. P. Municipalities Act or the rules framed thereunder excluding the application of Order VI, Rule 17 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Learned Counsel has failed to point out any provision of the Act or the rules thereunder which may be inconsistent with the provision for amendment contained in Order VI, Rule 17. It is no doubt true that while allowing the amendment the Tribunal has no power to allow an election petitioner to introduce by way of amendment a new ground of challenge which may not have been taken in the petition. Section 20 provides limitation of thirty days for questioning the election of returned candidate. The ground or grounds on which the election of a returned candidate is questioned must be set forth in the election petition which is required to be filed within thirty days of the date of announcement of the result of the election. If a ground of attack is not raised in the election petition within thirty days, the Election Tribunal cannot allow any such amendment after the expiry of the period of limitation provided in Section 20 of the Act. If, however, the ground of challenge is raised, the Tribunal may allow amendment of the petition for giving further particulars of any corrupt practice or further material facts in support of the grounds already taken in the petition. As regards the giving of full particulars of corrupt practice Section 20 of the Act itself lays down that the election petitioner should give as full a statement as possible of the names of the parties alleged to have committed corrupt practices and the date and place of commission of each such corrupt practice. The use of the words 'including as full a statement as possible' in Section 20 is significant. TheLegislature contemplated that in certain circumstances it may not be possible to give a full statement of the names of parties alleged to have committed corrupt practice and date, time and place at the time of filing the petition, hence, the expression 'as full a statement as possible' was used in Section 20, which indicates the legislative intent, that further particulars may be given later on. In our opinion, an Election Tribunal constituted under the U. P. Municipalities Act has full power to allow amendment of election petition. We are supported in our view by the decision of the Supreme Court in Harish Chandra Bajpai v. Triloki Singh, AIR 1957 SC 444.

5. Learned Counsel for the petitioner further urged that the Election Tribunal constituted under the U. P. Municipalities Act had no power to allow amendment of an election petition in view of the provisions contained in Section 20 of the Act. It would be pertinent to set out Section 20 which runs as under:--

'20. Form and presentation of election petitions.-

(1) An election petition shall be presented within 30 days after the day on which the result of the election sought to be questioned is announced by the Returning Officer, and shall specify the ground or grounds on which the election of the respondent is questioned and shall contain a concise statement of the material facts on which the petitioner relies and set forth full particulars of any corrupt practices that the petitioner alleges, including as full a statement as possible of the names of the parties alleged to have committed such corrupt practices and the date and place of the commission of each such practice.

(2) The petition shall be signed by the petitioner and verified in the manner laid down in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Act No. V of 1908) for the verification of pleadings.

(3) The petition may be presented by any candidate in whose favour votes have been recorded and who claims in the petition to be declared elected in the room of the person whose election is questioned or by ten or more electors of the municipality or by a person who claims that his nomination paper was improperly rejected:

(4) The person whose election is questioned and, where the petitioner claims that any other candidate should be declared elected in the room of such person, every successful candidate who is not a petitioner in the petition shall be made a respondent to the petition.

(5) The petition shall be presented to the District Judge, or in a district where there is no head quarters of the District Judge, to the Civil Judge, within whose jurisdiction the municipality to which the election petition relates, is situate: Provided that the petition shall not be entertained by the District Judge or the Civil Judge, as the case may be, unless it is accommpanied by a treasury challan showing that the prescribed security has been deposited.'

As alread observed, the above section at first prescribes a period of limitation for filing an election petition. Secondly it prescribes the form and the contents of the election petition. According to the section, a concise statement of material facts on which the election petitioner relies in challenging the election of the returned candidate should be set forth and full particulars of corrupt practices including as full a statement as possible of the parties alleged to have committed corrupt practices and the date and place of each such corrupt practice should be given. No doubt, if the petition does not comply with the requirements of Section 20 inasmuch as if the grounds on which the election of the returned candidate is challenged are not set forth and no concise statement of material facts is given, the Election Tribunal is empowered under Section 22 of the Act to reject such an election petition. But in a case where concise statement of material facts is set forth in the election petition and details of corrupt practice alleged to have been committed by the returned candidate are given, the Election Tribunal has full jurisdiction to allow amendment of the election petition permitting the election petitioner to add further particulars and details of the corrupt practices. In our opinion, Section 20 is to be read with the provisions contained in Section 23 (2) (a) of the Act which makes all the provisions of the Civil Procedure Code applicable which are not inconsistent with the provisions of the Act and the rules framed thereunder. In our opinion Section 20 does not take away the power of the Election Tribunal to allow amendment of the election petition. A learned Single Judge of this Court in Amirullah v. L. P. Nigam, 1956 All LJ 189 held that an Election Tribunal constituted under the U. P. Municipalities Act was invested with the power to allow amendment of an election petition under Order VI, Rule 17 of the Code of Civil Procedure. In that case the order of the Election Tribunal amending the election petition was upheld. The view taken by the learned Single Judge in Amirullah's case was approved by a Division Bench of our Court in Bhushan Saran v. Onkar Saran, AIR 1956 All 715. We are in agreement with the law laid down in the aforesaid two cases. We therefore, find no force in the petitioner's contention.

6. Learned Counsel for the petitioner then urged that the scheme of the two Acts namely the U, P. Municipalities Act and the Representation of the People Act, 1951, is quite different and therefore, the law laid down by the Supreme Court in considering the question of amendmentof an election petition under the Representation of the People Act cannot be pressed into service in considering the scope and power of an election tribunal constituted under the U. P. Municipalities Act. In our opinion this argument is misconceived. Sections 20, 22 and 23 of the U. P. Municipalities Act are very much similar to the provisions contained in Sections 80, 81, 82 and 86 of the Representation of the People Act, Section 90 of the Representation of the People Act as it stood prior to its amendment in 1956 was worded in similar terms as Section 23 of the U. P. Municipalities Act stands today. In our opinion, the principle enunciated by the Supreme Court in the case of AIR 1957 SC 444 with regard to' the power of the Election Tribunal to allow amendment of an election petition fully applies to the trial of election petitions filed under the Act. No doubt there are certain differences in the scheme of the two Acts but the principles with regard to the amendment of the election petition and the power of the Election Tribunal to allow amendment are the same. The Tribunal in the present case did not commit any error in placing reliance on the Supreme Court cases which arose out of proceedings tinder the Representation of the People Act. This contention of the petitioner therefore must be rejected.

7. Lastly, the learned Counsel urged that even if the Election Tribunal had power to allow amendment of the election petition the amendments allowed by the impugned order changed the nature of the case set up by the election petitioners as new grounds of challenge were allowed to be added by the Tribunal. We have perused the impugned order of the Election Tribunal. We do not find any infirmity in it. The amendments allowed by the Tribunal do not add any new ground of challenge. In the election petition, the election petitioner had alleged that votes of about 20 persons who were dead were cast by impersonation in favour of the elected candidate. In the election petition filed originally the election petitioner had given the names of 15 such dead persons. By the amendment application the election petitioner sought to add five names. The Tribunal allowed the amendment. The addition of five names was well within the ground raised by the election petitioner. In the election petition, another ground of attack taken by the election petitioner was that five ballot papers which were valid according to him and which recorded votes in his favour were wrongly rejected by the Returning Officer. By the amendment application the election petitioner gave details of those five ballot papers. These details could not be given earlier because the petitioner had no particulars of the ballot papers. After inspection of the ballot papers the election petitioner gave the details of the ballot papers. The petition was allowed tobe amended in this respect which in our opinion was perfectly justified and legal. Similarly, the amendment of paragraph 7 (h) of the election petition also did not amount to addition of any new ground. The Election Tribunal in our opinion, acted within its jurisdiction in allowing the amendments.

8. No other point was pressed before us.

9. In the result the petition fails and is accordingly dismissed.


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