Elected person must face election petition genuinely: SC

  An elected representative, facing challenge to his election, should make genuine effort to overcome and free himself from an election petition to maintain the purity of democracy, Supreme Court said on Thursday.

New Delhi:  An elected representative, facing challenge to his election, should make genuine effort to overcome and free himself from an election petition to maintain the purity of democracy, Supreme Court said on Thursday.

The apex court said those against whom election petition is filed should not take shelter, seeking adjournments with the "elated hope that he can be triumphant in the contest by passage of time."

"The fundamental purpose for expeditious disposal of an election petition is to sustain the purity of parliamentary democracy... A voter casts his vote as a responsible citizen to choose the masters for governing the country.

"That being the trust of the electorate in an elected candidate, when he faces an assail to his election, it should be his sanguine effort to become free from the assail in the election petition and work with attainment and not take shelter seeking adjournments with the elated hope that he can be triumphant in the contest by passage of time," a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said.

The observations came during hearing of an appeal filed by Manipur resident Pukhrem Sharatchandra Singh who had moved the apex court challenging the election of one Mairembam Prithviraj for the Manipur Legislative Assembly held in 2012.

Singh had challenged the election of the MLA on the ground that Prithviraj had filed false affidavits claiming that he had an MBA degree from Mysore University.

Singh filed an election petition in the Manipur High Court but the matter kept adjourning from time to time.

While observing that elections petitions have to be decided with "promptitude" as there is an obligation cast upon the Court to dispose of the same within a period of six months, the court said that the attitude of delay "has to be curbed from all angles because law does not countenance it.

"We are of the convinced opinion that the election petition pending before the High Court has to be decided with extreme alertness and in quite promptitude. As the court has not framed issues, it shall proceed to frame issues.

"Thereafter, the evidence shall commence and the court shall, regard being had to the statutory command and the norms in a democratic polity, dispose of the election petition by end of February 2016," a bench also comprising Prafulla C Pant said.

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