Minor lapses in holding poll no ground of unseating MLA: SC

A legislator cannot be unseated on grounds of minor procedural lapses in holding an election unless it is proved that the lapse materially affected the poll result, the Supreme Court has held.

Last Updated: Jan 19, 2011, 21:16 PM IST

New Delhi: A legislator cannot be unseated
on grounds of minor procedural lapses in holding an election
unless it is proved that the lapse materially affected the
poll result, the Supreme Court has held.

"The proof of mere non-compliance of any of the
provisions of the (Representation of the Peoples) Act or the
Rules framed thereunder by itself, without showing that such
non-compliance had materially affected the result of the
election would not be sufficient to declare it void," held an
apex court bench.

The ruling on the electoral law was given by a bench of
justices J M Panchal and Gyan Sudha Mishra, endorsing a
Gauhati High Court ruling.

The apex court gave its verdict on an election petition
seeking to unseat BJP legislator Prasanta Phukan from
Dibrugarh.

The petition had been filed by Congress candidate Kalyan
Kuamr Gogoi who had finished the runners-up, losing the
election by 176 votes.

Gogoi had sought unseating Phukhan on the ground that
during the 2006 state assembly elections, one of the polling
booths in Dibrugarh assembly constituency operated for a
couple of hours in the morning in a non-notified school.

Gogoi had contended in his petition that due to setting
up of the polling booth in a non-notified school, which, he
alleged, was about 1.5 to 2 kilometers away from the school
notified originally for setting up the booth, over 200 to 300
voters were not able to cast their votes.

During adjudication of Gogoi`s election petition, the
high court, however, discovered that though the polling booth
had been set up at a school different from the originally
notified one, the booth was shifted back to the original venue
within less than two hours after the voting began.

The high court also found that the non-notified school,
from where the polling booth operated for less than two hours,
was merely 100 meters away and at a visible distance from the
school notified for setting up the polling booths.

The apex court concurred with the high court`s findings
that these minor procedural lapses in holding the elections
did not materially affect the result.

PTI

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