HC upholds EC decision on Hindu Mahasabha



New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has upheld the decision of the Election Commission not to recognise office bearers of Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM) led by national president Swami Chakrapani after a rival faction challenged their election.

Setting aside a single judge's order directing the EC to grant recognition to Chakrapani-led ABHM, a division bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw allowed the petition filed by Chandra Prakash Kaushik, who also claims to be a member of ABHM - a registered unrecognised political party.

The single-bench of Justice S Muralidhar earlier had said the mere fact that letters were written to the EC by rival claimants was not a "good enough reason" for the panel to reverse its decision to accept the list of office bearers submitted by Swami Chakrapani.

Chakrapani had challenged the EC order issued on January 14 last year that it would not recognise anyone as the authorised office bearers of the party as there were claims and rival claims over the political outfit.

The EC order was passed after some alleged party members, opposed to the national president, filed a civil suit seeking to declare as "unconstitutional" the election of Chakrapani and other office bearers including Indira Tiwari.

The Commission had cited the pendency of the case as one of the reasons for the decision.

Kaushik's plea had challenged the order of single-bench.

"We are thus of the view that the decision dated November 11, 2010 of ECI of preferring the claim of Swami Chakrapani over that of others was clearly beyond the powers/jurisdiction of ECI. Axiomatically the corrective action of ECI on January 14, 2011 is found to be in accordance with law and thus cannot be faulted with," the division bench said.

"The respondent (ECI) on January 14, 2011 appears to have felt that its earlier decision dated November 11, 2010 was erroneous. The learned single judge has held that the ECI could not have so corrected its decision.

"We are, however, of the view that this court in exercise of powers of judicial review ought not to interfere with a decision of a body such as ECI which decision is otherwise found to be correct in law," the bench observed.

Kaushik had argued that the EC's order was reasonable and the group of office bearers led by Chakrapani should not have been acknowledged.

The plea was opposed by Indira Tiwari, an office bearer of ABHM led by Chakrapani, saying Kaushik had no locus to challenge the judgement of the court as it was the EC which was a party to the petition filed by Chakrapani.

She had also said the EC, in its reply to a RTI query, has acknowledged that its records have the list of office bearers having Chakrapani as the ABHM president.

PTI