The Delhi High Court (DHC) on 3rd of February, 2020 s
ought responses of the Election Commission (EC)
and the Centre
on a plea by 11 independent candidates challenging rejection of their nominations for the upcoming Delhi Assembly polls in a previous order of the DHC.
The order was challenged by eleven people who moved the Delhi High Court on the 31st of January, 2020
. The order had dismissed their pleas against the rejection of their nominations for contesting as candidates in the upcoming assembly elections, wherein the nomination forms were allegedly not accepted by the returning officer despite having arrived at the election office at the stipulated time. The appeal was filed challenging the single judge -Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva's order of 28th January, 2020
where they alleged said that the order was passed erroneously and with disregard of the facts and materials that were placed on record by them. It was further alleged in the plea that the court had declined to entertain the petition and also wrongly denied restoration, protection and enforcement of their constitutional and legal rights to contest elections from the New Delhi seat. A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel
and Justice C Hari Shankar
issued notices to the Centre and the EC seeking their stand on the candidates' plea, which also challenges Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva's
order declining to entertain their petition against rejection officer.
The division bench said it will hear the matter on February 5, 2020. Facts of the case:
- On January 28, 2020 a single judge had dismissed the plea saying it was not maintainable and that under the Representation of People Act, 1951 only an election petition was permissible and it would have to be filed after results were declared.
- The petition contended that the petitioners had arrived at the election office at Jamnagar House early in the morning on January 20, 2020 with their duly-filled forms and required documents. Since there were several candidates already waiting at the office, the returning officer (RO) issued them tokens and based on their respective token numbers the forms were to be accepted and scrutinised. However, due to paucity of time, all the people who were issued tokens could not be attended to, the plea said, adding that the returning officer asked the petitioners to come the next day. The returning officer also told them their tokens were valid for the next day and their turn would come before that of others, the petition claims.
- When the petitioners reached the election office the next day, they found that instead of tokens, the names of the applicants were being recorded on a sheet, the petition said, claiming that once Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal arrived there to file his nomination, he was directly taken inside to allegedly facilitate his filing.
- Their plea claimed that due to the "wrongful, illegal, arbitrary, unconstitutional and malafide actions/inactions" of returning officer the petitioners were illegally and unconstitutionally deprived of exercising their constitutional right of participating in the democratic process of government formation".
- The petitioners have sought directions to the Centre, Election Commission, Chief Electoral Officer and returning officer to initiate measures which would help them to file their nomination forms for contesting election from the New Delhi seat against Kejriwal.
Author - Dyuti Pandya