1. This petition is directed against an order passed by the Election Tribunal, Hoshangabad, in Election Petition No. 334 of 1957. The order itself is in two parts having been passed in skeleton form, first on 8-8-1957 and amplified with reasons in a subsequent order delivered on 26-8-1957. The two orders in question refer to the form of the election petition and its contents.
As is usual in these election petitions, certain allegations of a general character were averred. Subsequently, two applications for amendment were filed by the present petitioner asking for the incorporation of some details, which were allowed. In the opinion of the Election Tribunal the petition still remained incomplete, because details of some of the particulars were not supplied.
In these two orders the Election Tribunal commanded the petitioner to furnish those details and to complete the averments in respect of some of the grounds on which the election of the first and the fourth respondents here was challenged. The learned counsel for the respondent (No. 1) frankly concedes that in view of the decision of this Court in Hari Vishnu Kamath v. Election Tribunal Jabalpur, M. P. No. 155 of 1957 D/- 9-9-1957 : (AIR 1957 Madh Pra 168) (A) the Election Tribunal did not possess the power of ordering suo motu the Supply of such details.
The learned counsel for the petitioner, therefore, contends that in view of this concession the whole of the order should be quashed. The counsel for respondent no. 1, however, contends that the finding given that these particulars were necessary to frame an issue should be sustained and the rest of the order quashed.
2. The controversy before us has really narrowed down to a very insignificant dimension. It is conceded on all hands that as a result of the decision in Kamath's case (A) the Court was incompetent after the amendment of the Representation of the People Act to order suo motu the supply of better or indeed of any particulars.
In that decision the Division Bench has been at pains to show that that power has deliberately been taken away, so that election, petitions are not turned into prosperous suits continuing in Courts for a number of years. Indeed, the time limit which has been set upon the disposal of these election petitions, viz. six months, itself shows that the legislature intended that the controversy should be decided in a very expeditious and business like manner.
For this purpose the amendment was introduced, and we say that in our opinion the amendment must have been introduced to obviate all such happenings in these election disputes. Formerly, as also in this case, the tribunals were noticed to intervene with their own suggestion as to how the particulars should be pleaded and what should be averred and what not. By the amendment of the law this power of the tribunals has been taken away -- and we say quite rightly -- so that these election disputes may terminate within a reasonable time.
3. As a result of this it is quite obvious that the Election Tribunal went out of its way in ordering particulars. The law requires these particulars to be supplied with as much detail and circumspection as is possible at the very start. The law, however, gives the petitioner a chance to apply for amendment if there has been some omission, subject, however, that the amendment must be related to some particulars alleged in the petition or some corrupt practice which is the subject-matter of the controversy.
Short of this, there is no other means of getting an original petition before the Election Tribunal amended or amplified. We, therefore, hold on the strength of the earlier decision that the Election Tribunal was in error in ordering these particulars on its own. We quash the order of the Election Tribunal relating to the ordering of the particulars.
4. This leaves over for consideration whether we should quash the entire order or only that portion. The whole of the order is knit together, and it is impossible for us sitting here to unravel those portions of the order which, need to be sustained from those which need not be sustained.
It is appropriate for us to get this entire order out of the way and to leave the matter to the Tribunal to decide in the light of this opinion, so that on a future occasion if an amendment is sought the dispute may not assume the proportions which it almost portended to do.
5. The gist of the matter is that the Election Tribunal must take the petition as it stands, subject, however, to a clerical error corrected here and there. If the petitioner does not supply the details of the particulars it is no part of the business of the Election Tribunal to try to improve his petition by directing him to plead the particulars.
It is for the petitioner on all occasions to come forward with a proper petition and if the petition is incomplete to ask for an amendment, Amendment should be allowed only if the necessity of the case requires it, regard being had to the provisions of the Act and of the 17th rule of Order 6 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Short of that, the matter must stand as it does in the original petition. The Election Tribunal is not required to scrutinize the petition to see what issues could have been raised or which have not been properly raised.
If there is insufficiency of material, and an issue does not rationally arise in the case, the Election Tribunal, in the absence of an application for amendment, need not frame an issue. Of course, if the election petition is sought to be amended, the Election Tribunal would see whether those amendments could be allowed under the general law as well as the special provisions of the Act.
If the election petition omits to set out the particulars and amendment is sought the Election Tribunal would have to see whether the amendment should be allowed at all; but as each case will differ on its facts, we do not lay down in this case any rules for the guidance of Election Tribunals, nor do we think it necessary or possible to do so for all the variety of cases that come before Election Tribunals.
The legislature has deliberately set a time limit for the completion of these election cases before the Election Tribunals, and that time limit should be adhered to as far as possible. Any attempt at dilatoriness or any negligence or want of diligence should, as far as possible be curtailed.
6. The position as a result of the quashing of the order is that the petition stands as amended up to date. If the petitioner seeks any further amendment, the question whether the amendment should be allowed or not is still open before the Election Tribunal.
If, however, the amendment is not allowed and the Election Tribunal is of the opinion that there is no proper issue possible to be raised on the allegations contained in the petition, it shall be -- as has been shown in Kamath's case (A) its duty to say that no issue shall be framed on that part of the controversy.
7. With these observations we think that this petition should be allowed. But in the circumstances of the case we made no order about costs.