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Ram Abhilakh Tewari Vs. the Election Tribunal, Gonda and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectElection
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Appln. No. 17 of 1958
Judge
Reported inAIR1958All663
ActsRepresentation of the People Act, 1951 - Sections 77, 77(3), 90(5), 100, 100(1) and 123(6); Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Order 6, Rule 17
AppellantRam Abhilakh Tewari
RespondentThe Election Tribunal, Gonda and ors.
Appellant AdvocateRaj Kumar Srivastava and ;Brij Kumar Srivastava, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateStanding Counsel for Opposite Party No. 1, ;K.S. Varma, ;Iqbal Ahmad and ;Maheswar Prasad, Advs. for Opposite party No. 2
Excerpt:
election - corrupt practice - sections 77, 100(1)(d)(iv) and 123(6) of representation of the people act, 1951 - mere statement that expenditure exceeds the prescribed limit - not sufficient ground for rendering elections void. - - the petition so far as it relates to these two paragraphs and the orders passed in respect of them must, therefore, fail. clearly, the words 'corrupt practices' in this sentence are meant to refer to the corrupt practices alleged earlier in the election petition in paragraphs 4 (a) to 4 co. section 83(3) of the unamended act as well as section 90(5) of the present act only deal with the amendment of particulars or amplification of particulars or furnishing of better and further particulars of a corrupt practice......the parties has come to the view that all necessary particulars required by section 83 of the representation of the people act have been furnished in these two paragraphs. learned counsel for the petitioner has not been able to show to us how the view taken by the election tribunal on this point is incorrect. he has not been able to point out what particulars should further have been furnished and are omitted from these two paragraphs. the petition so far as it relates to these two paragraphs and the orders passed in respect of them must, therefore, fail. 7. next we consider it convenient to take up the question in so far as it relates to paragraph 4(d). this is the paragraph which has been the main subject of controversy in this case. this paragraph 4(d) as it stood originally in.....
Judgment:

V. Bhargava, J.

1. Ram Abhilakh Tewari has filed this petition under Article 228 of the Constitution praying for the issue of a writ of certiorari quashing the orders of the Election Tribunal, Gonda, dated 28-10-1957, 28-11-1957 and 6-12-1957 passed during the trial of an election petition. The present petitioner Ram Abhilakh Tewari was declared as the returned candidate on 18-3-1957. Opposite-party No. 2 Naurang Singh presented an election, petition to the Election Commission on 1-5-1957-

The Commission referred the petition for trial to the Election Tribunal at Gonda fixing 15-7-1957 as the date for parties, to appear before the Tribunal. Certain proceedings were taken by the Tribunal on the election petition and then on 8-10-57 an application, for amendment of the election petition was presented by opposite-party No. 2 who was the election petitioner.

By this amendment application the pleadings in paragraph 4(D) of the petition were sought to be amended. On this amendment applications arguments were heard on 21-10-1957 and then by the order dated 28-10-1957 the amended application was allowed. This is one of the orders impugned in the present petition.

2. Objection had also been taken before the Tribunal that the pleadings in paragraphs 4(A) to 4(G) of the petition were general and vague and not in accordance with the requirements of law. These objections were heard on 20th and 21st November, 1957, and then by the order of 28-11-1957, it was held that the pleadings, were proper and correct except that a few defects existed in some of the paragraphs which needed to be rectified.

For that purpose, the Tribunal granted time to opposite-party No. 2 to put in an application, for amendment by 2-12-1957. This is the second order that is impugned in this petition.

3. The third order that is impugned in this petition is the order of 6-12-1957 which was passed on the amendment application presented by opposite party No. 2 in pursuance of the order of 28-11-1957. By this order of 6-12-1957 that amendment application was allowed.

4. During the hearing, of this petition by us, we were further informed that, after the above impugned orders had been passed the Election Tribunal had proceeded further with the trial and on 13-12-1957 framed a number of issues. A certified copy of the issues framed was filed before us. We allowed that copy to be filed as we considered that an examination of the issues framed would be useful for the purpose of deciding the petition inasmuch as the decision would depend to a certain extent on the question as to how far the allegations in the various paragraphs have been made the subject matter of the issues by the Tribunal.

5. When this petition was taken up by us for hearing, a preliminary circumstance was brought to our notice by the learned Counsel for the petitioner, viz. that opposite party No. 3 Sardar Sheo Mangal Singh Kapoor had not been served with the notice of the petition so that the hearing of the petition required to be adjourned.

Learned counsel for opposite-party No. 2, however, urged that the nature of this petition was such that the presence of opposite party No. 3 was not necessary and requested that the petition may be heard without insisting on the notice being served on opposite party No. 3. In the circumstances, we examined the petition and came to the view that the petition could be heard in the absence of opposite party No. 3.

Though in the petition the petitioner has challenged the order of the Election Tribunal in respect of all the paragraphs 4(A) to 4(G), it appears to us that he is realiy concerned with only paragraphs 4(A) to 4(D). The allegations in paragrapns 4(E), 4(F) and 4(G) do not concern, the petitioner. They relate to other persons who were respondents in the election petition and who are opposite parties Nos. 3 and 4 in this petition.

These two opposite parties have not come up to this Court, have not challenged the orders of the Election Tribunal, and have remained content with those orders. Consequently in so far as this petition relates to paragraphs 4(E) to 4(G), it is not at all necessary for us to deal with it and, since these paragraphs are not being dealt with, the presence of opposite parties 3 and 4 is not necessary.

We have considered this petition only in so far as it relates to paragraphs 4 (A) to 4(D) and with these paragraphs opposite parties 3 and 4 are not concerned. In these circumstances, this petition was heard without waiting for service of notice on opposite party No. 3.

6. On the merits we may first take the case of the petitioner in so far as it relates to paragraphs 4(A) and 4(B) of the election petition. In these paragrapns there is allegation of com-mission of corrupt practices by the present petitioner and his agents and workers with his consent and within his knowledge.

The Election Tribunal, after hearing the parties has come to the view that all necessary particulars required by Section 83 of the Representation of the People Act have been furnished in these two paragraphs. Learned Counsel for the petitioner has not been able to show to us how the view taken by the Election Tribunal on this point is incorrect. He has not been able to point out what particulars should further have been furnished and are omitted from these two paragraphs. The petition so far as it relates to these two paragraphs and the orders passed in respect of them must, therefore, fail.

7. Next we consider it convenient to take up the question in so far as it relates to paragraph 4(D). This is the paragraph which has been the main subject of controversy in this case. This paragraph 4(D) as it stood originally in the petition, was as follows:

That respondent No. 1 did not keep any account of expenditure from day to day as prescribed by Section 77 of the Representation of the People Act and the rules made thereunder and therefore, the return filed by respondent No. 1 is fictitious and concocted, He has also not shown the correct account of expenditure incurred and authorised by him. This he has done to hide his corrupt practices. The return of election expenses filed by the respondent No. J prove all this.'

8. Controversy arose before the Election Tribunal as to what was the effect of the allegations made in this paragraph. It was contended on behalf of the present petitioner that this paragraph 4 (D) amounted to an allegation of commission of corrupt practices by him defined in Section 123(6) of the Representation of the People Act.

On behalf of opposite party No.2 who had filed the election petition, the contention was that this was not an allegation of commission of a corrupt practice at all but that paragraph 4 (D) contained a ground for declaring the election of the present petitioner void under Section 100(1)(d)(iv) of the Representation of the People Act. The Tribunal accepted the contention of opposite party No. 2.

We have heard learned counsel for the parties and it appears to us that the correct interpretation of this paragraph 4 (D) was not put before the Tribunal by either of the two parties and that in fact it neither contains an allegation of commission of corrupt practices under section. 123(6) of the Representation of the People Act nor any ground for setting aside the election under Section 100(1)(d)(iv) of the Act.

The first two sentences of this paragraph are merely factual. What is stated in these two sentences is that the present petitioner did not com-ply with the requirements of Section 77 of the Representation of the People Act and the Rules made thereunder and that the return which he had filed did not show the correct account of the expenditure incurred and authorised by him as it contained fictitious and concocted entries.

Such an allegation cannot be held to amount to a corrupt practice under Section 123(6) of the Representation of the People Act. Under that provision of law the corrupt practice consists in incurring or authorising expenditure in contravention of Section 77 which can only happen if a candidate incurs or authorises expenditure in excess of the maximum amount allowable under the rules framed under Section 77(3) of the Representation of the People Act.

In this paragraph there is no suggestion at all that the expenditure, which was incurred by the present petitioner, exceeded the prescribed limit. There was, therefore, no question of interpreting this paragraph as containing an allegation of commission of! a corrupt practice under Section 123(6) of the Representation of the People Act.

So far as the contention of opposite party No. 2 that it contains a ground under Section 100(1)(d)(iv) of the Representation of the People Act is concerned, that also cannot be accepted because a reading of this paragraph itself shows that the facts in it were never meant to be a ground for declaring the election of the present, petitioner void. The relevant provision of Section 100 after omitting unnecessary parts which needs consideration reads as follows:

'Subject to the provisions of Sub-section (2), if the Tribunal is of opinion that the result of the election, in 50 far as it concerns a returned candidate, has been materially affected by any non-compliance with the provisions of the constitution or of this Act or of any rules or orders made under this Act, the Tribunal shall declare the election of the returned candidate to be void.'

It is to be noted that the language used in this provision of law renders an election void on the ground that the result of the election has been materially affected by non-compliance with the provisions of the Representation of the People Act or the rules framed there-, under. It is not rendered void by non-compliance with the rules which may have materially affected the result.

The ground itself is that the result has been, materially affected and then there is the qualification that it should have been affected by non-compliance with the provisions of the Act or the rules framed thereunder. The principal ingredient of the ground is that the result has been materially affected and not that there had been non-compliance with the provisions of the Act or the rules.

Consequently, whenever a petition is based on the provisions of Section 100(1)(d)(iv) of the Representation of the People Act there must be a dear allegation in the first instance that the result of the election has been materially affected and then in addition the petition should show that it has been materially affected by non-compliance with the provisions of the Representation of People Act or the rules framed thereunder.

In the original paragraph 4 (D), there was no mention at ail that the result bed been materially affected. No doubt, non-compliance with the provisions of 3. 77 of the Representation of the People Act and the rules framed thereunder was alleged but mere allegation of such a fact cannot be held to constitute a ground for setting aside the election.

There is the further circumstance that after giving the facts in the first two sentences of this paragraph, opposite party no. 2 who was the election petitioner also indicated his purpose of giving those facts. According to him, the non-compliance by the present petitioner was with the objection of hiding his corrupt practices. Clearly, the words 'corrupt practices' in this sentence are meant to refer to the corrupt practices alleged earlier in the election petition in paragraphs 4 (A) to 4 CO.

It would thus appear that the allegation, about non-compliance was made with the solo object of convincing the Election Tribunal that corrupt practice mentioned in paragraphs 4(A) to 4(C) had been committed by the present petitioner and that he had concealed the commission of such corrupt practices by adopting the course of not complying with the requirements of Section 77 of the Representation of the People Act and the rules framed thereunder and by making fictitious and concocted entries in the return of accounts.

It is, therefore, clear that paragraph 4 (D), as it originally stood, did not contain any ground for setting aside the election which would be covered by any clause of Section 100 of the Representation of the People Act. What has been done is that by a subsequent amendment this factual statement in paragraph 4 (P) has been converted into a ground for setting aside the election. In the amendment application dated 3-10-1957. the first prayer was that the words 'and which has materially affected the result of the election in so far as it concerns the respondent No. 1' be added at the end of the sentence 'this he has done to hide his corrupt practices.''

This is one of the amendments which has been allowed by the Election Tribunal and the effect of allowing this amendment is that a pleading on a question of fact, which was put in merely for the purpose of supporting earlier allegations made in paragraphs 4 (A) to 4 (C), has now been converted into a ground for setting aside the election. Such an amendment should not have been allowed by the Election Tribunal as it is not permissible either under Section 90, Sub-section (5) of the Representation of the People Act or under Order VI rule 17 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

The scope of these two provisions of law, was explained by the Supreme Court in Harish Chanara Bajpai v. Triloki Singh, (S) AIR 1957 S. C. 444 (A). That decision relates to the Representation of the People Act, 1951 before its amendment in the year 1956. The provision under the Act that time for permitting amendments in an election petition, was contained in Section 83(3) of the Act. The Supreme Court laid down two principles which are as follows :

(1) Under Section 83(3) the Tribunal has power to allow particulars in respect of illegal or corrupt practices to be amended, provided the petition itself specifies the grounds or charges and this power extends to permitting new instances to be given,

(2) The Tribunal has power under Order VI Rule 17 to order amendment of a petition, but that power cannot be exercised so as to permit new grounds) or charges to be raised or to so alter its character as to make it in substance a new petition, if a fresh petition on those allegations will then be barred.

9. There is a slight difference in the language of Section 90 (5) of the Representation of the people Act as amended upto date and the language of Section 83(3) or the unamended Act but for the purpose of the present case it is not necessary to go into this difference. Section 83(3) of the unamended Act as well as Section 90(5) of the present Act only deal with the amendment of particulars or amplification of particulars or furnishing of better and further particulars of a corrupt practice.

In the present case the amendment which is sought is not in respect of particulars of a corrupt practice at all. As we have indicated above, the amendment has been sought for the purpose of alleging a ground covered by Section 100(1)(d)(iv) of the Representation of the People Act which does not deal with corrupt practices. Such an amendment! would, therefore, be allowed only in the exercise of the power conferred by Order VI rule 17, C. P. C. The limitation placed on the exercise of that power by the Supreme Court is that it cannot be exercised so as to permit new ground or charges to be raised if a fresh petition oil those allegations, will then be barred.

In the present case we have already held above that the amendment which has been allowed by the Tribunal has had the result of bringing into existence a new ground which did not exist in the petition when originally filed and such an amendment could not, therefore, have been permitted at a time when a fresh petition on that ground had become time barred.

Admittedly at the time when the application for amendment was moved as well as at the time when the amendment was allowed, the period of limitation for filing a fresh election, petition bad already expired. Consequently, this was an amendment which has been permitted by the Election Tribunal in exercise of a power which the Tribunal did not possess.

The Tribunal's power of, allowing the amendment was confined to that conferred by Order VI rule 17 C. P. C. and could only be exercised within the limitations indicated by the Supreme Court in the case cited above. The exercise of the power by the Tribunal in allowing the amendment in the present case amounted to an exercise of jurisdiction not vested in it and even though in exercise of that power an interlocutory order has been passed, we consider that it is a fit case, where that order should be rectified by this Court.

We have considered it advisable to interfere; at this stage, because, if we do not do so, there will be unnecessary expenditure and hardship when the issues framed in respect of this new ground are tried by the Tribunal and evidence is recorded in respect of it.

In fact there is also a likelihood that, if permission is granted to adduce evidence on these issues, it may create confusion in the proper trial of other issues correctly framed. Of course, the allegation contained in paragraph 4 (D) of the election petition can be considered by the Election Tribunal for the purpose for which it was initially put and as it stood unamended.

It will be for the Tribunal at that stage to consider whether that allegation is at all relevant for the purpose of proving or disproving the allegations of corrupt practices contained in paragraphs 4 (A) to 4 (C) of the election petition and, in case the Tribunal is of the opinion that these allegations are relevant for such a purpose the Tribunal will then have to consider how far evidence should be allowed on them. AC this stage, the order by which amendment of paragraph 4 (D) was allowed has to be set aside so that the order of 28-10-1957, must be quashed.

There are also certain further orders in pursuance of that order of 28-10-1957 but we need not make any specific direction in respect of them as those subsequent orders will have to be dealt with in the light of our order quashing the order of 28-10-1957 and our further observations which have been made on this point earlier in this judgment.

10. Finally, we have to consider the correctness of the order of. 28-11-1957 in so far as it goes on to hold that the allegations in paragraph 4 (C) of the petition are proper and correct.

It appears to us that though the point was neither specifically raised before the Tribunal nor was it raised before us in this writ petition, Paragraph 4 (C) of the election petition suffers from a serious defect. In that paragraph, there are allegations of a corrupt practice having been committed by making systematic appeals on the ground of caste.

The details of the appeals are given. The allegations in respect of two of the appeals are that the present petitioner himself made those appeals. One was an appeal made by him on 27-2-1957 in village Ranijot and the village adjoining it. The other allegation relates to a series of appeals between. 26-2-1957 and 2-3-1957 to a number of persons whose names are given and to the Brahmin voters of villages in three polling centres. There is also an allegation that the present petitioner got a leaflet issued so as to influence Brahmin voters.

All these allegations being against the present petitioner himself who is the returned candidate, these allegations might constitute a ground for setting aside his election under Section 100(1)(b) of the Representation of the People Act To that extent the allegations are not vague. There are, however, also in this paragraph allegations of appeals on the ground of caste by a number of other persons. In respect of those persons, there is no allegation that any of them was the election, agent of the present petitioner nor is there any allegation that the appeals were made by any of them with the consent of the present petitioner or his election agent.

Consequently so far as the allegations of speeches by those persons arc concerned, they cannot constitute a ground for setting aside the election under Section 100(1)(b) of the Representation of the People Act. Further, there is no allegation at all that the result of the election was materially affected by the commission of) those alleged corrupt practices by those persons, viz, by malting systematic appeals on the ground of caste. There being no allegation that the result was materially affected, these allegations against those persons, therefore, remain in the form of mere allegations of fact without constituting a ground for setting aside the election under Section 100(1)(d)(ii). of the Representation of the People Act.

This aspect appeared before us during the hearing of the petition and from the certified copy of the issues framed. It also appeared to us that the issues have been so framed as to indicate that the Tribunal was going to consider those allegations of speeches by those persons other than the returned candidate himself as a ground for setting aside the election of the returned candidate. On this point, of course, there was no specific prayer in the writ petition before us and in fact even, the copy of the issues was filed at a late stage.

We do not, therefore, consider that it would be appropriate to issue any specific order quashing or altering the issues already framed by the Tribunal. We, however, consider it proper to draw the attention of the Tribunal to this aspect of the case so that the Tribunal shall proceed to reconsider the issues and frame them in the light of our views expressed above. This view has been expressed by us after hearing learned counsel for both the parties on this point.

11. As a result the petition is allowed' to the extent that the order of the Tribunal dated 28-10-1957 is quashed. Further proceedings by the Tribunal shall be taken in accordance with the views which we have expressed earlier in this judgment. In the circumstances of this case we direct the parties to bear their own costs of this petition.

12. The stay order is vacated.


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