S.M.N. Raina, J.
1. This is an election petition under Sections 80 and 81 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
2. Respondents Nos. 1 to 5, were elected as representatives of the State of Madhya Pradesh in the Council of States at the last elections. The petitioner who was also a candidate at the said election has by this petition challenged the election of the respondents on various grounds as stated in the petition.
3. Sub-section (1) of Section 117 of the Representation of the People Act. 1951 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act') requires that at the time of presenting an election petition, the petitioner shall deposit in the High Court a sum of Rs. 2,000/- as security for the costs of the petition. The petitioner has not deposited any amount as security so far. He has, however, filed an application under Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure read with Section 117 of the Act praying that the amount of security may be reduced from Rs. 2,000/- to Rs. 250/- or in the alternative, he may be allowed not to make any deposit whatsoever.
4. From the language of Sub-section (1) of Section 117 of the Act it is clear that the petitioner is bound to deposit the amount of Rs. 2,000/- as security and there is no provision in the Act under which the amount may be reduced by this Court. The petitioner urged that the provisions of Section 117 are merely directory and not mandatory and, therefore, this Court has discretion to reduce the amount but I find no substance in this contention. As already pointed out above, there is no provision conferring discretion on this Court to reduce the amount of security deposit. Under Sub-section (2) of Section 117 the High Court has been empowered to call upon the petitioner to give such further security for costs as it may direct. Thus although there is an express provision empowering the High Court to demand further security for costs from the petitioner, there is no similar provision conferring on the High Court the power to absolve the petitioner from making any security deposit or, to reduce the amount thereof.
5. The petitioner relied on the decision of the Supreme Court in Lalaram v. Supreme Court of India AIR 1967 SC 847 for the proposition that the Court has jurisdiction to reduce the security amount. This decision relates to security to be furnished for filing a review petition under the Supreme Court Rules and thus stands on a different footing. An election contest is not an action at law or a suit in equity but is purely a statutory proceeding unknown to the common law and the Court possesses no common law power independent of the statute. The right to stand for election and the right to move for setting aside the election are not common law rights. These rights are conferred by statute and strict statutory compliance is necessary for enforcing them. Dr. N.B. Khare v. Election commr of India 13 Ele LR 318 = (AIR 1958 SC 139) and K. Kamaraja Nadar v. Kunju Thevar 14 Ele LR 270 = 1959 SCR 583 = (AIR 1958 SC 687).
6. The petitioner also relied on the decision of the Supreme Court in 14 Ele LR 270 = 1959 SCR 583 = (AIR 1958 SC 687) and Om Prabha Jain v. Gian Chand 1959 Supp (2) SCR 516 = (AIR 1939 SC 837), but both these decisions are of no help to him. In Kamraja Nadar's case (supra) their Lordships held that the words 'in favour of the Secretary to the Election Commission' used in Section 117 were directory and not mandatory. In this decision their Lordships merely construed certain words in the section as it then stood and held thatessence of provisions of Section 117 was that the receipt should show or it should be proved by evidence led before the Tribunal that the deposit was at the disposal of the Election Commission to be utilised by it. Thus their Lordships laid stress on the substance of the provision and held certain words pertaining to the form as directory. There is nothing in this decision to suggest that it was not obligatory to make the deposit and that it was open to the Court to dispense with it or to reduce the amount. Similarly there is nothing in Omprabha Jain's case (supra) to show that the deposit under Section 117 is not mandatory.
7. The petitioner further relied on the decision of the Supreme Court in Premchand Garg v. Excise Commr U. P. AIR 1963 SC 996. In that case the validity of the rule for security deposit for a petition under Article 32 for enforcement of fundamental right was considered and is, therefore, not in point at all. It is not necessary to refer to other decisions relied upon by the petitioner because they are also not in point.
8. I, therefore, hold that this Court is not competent to reduce the amount of security deposit or to dispense with it. The application filed by the petitioner must, therefore, be rejected.
9. The petitioner has not deposited any amount so far under Section 117 of the Act. Sub-section (1) of Section 86 of the Act clearly lays down that the High Court shall dismiss the election petition which does not comply with the provisions of Section 81 or 82 or Section 117 of the Act. Since there is no compliance with Section 117 in this case this petition is liable to be dismissed.
10. The petition, therefore, fails and is hereby dismissed.