Petition to Poll Results
- 19 Jun 2021
- 4 min read
Why in News
Recently, the West Bengal Chief Minister has filed an election petition in the Calcutta High Court challenging the Assembly election result of Nandigram constituency.
- Election Petition:
- The Election Commission’s role ends with the declaration of results, after that, an election petition is the only legal remedy available to a voter or a candidate who believes there has been malpractice in an election.
- Such a person can challenge the result through an election petition submitted to the High Court of the state in which the constituency is located.
- Such a petition has to be filed within 45 days from the date of the poll results; nothing is entertained by courts after that.
- Although the Representative of the People Act (RP Act) of 1951 suggests that the High Court should try to conclude the trial within six months, it usually drags on for much longer, even years.
- Grounds on which Election Petition be Filed (Section 100 of the RP Act):
- On the day of the election, the winning candidate was not qualified to contest.
- The winning candidate, his poll agent or any other person with the consent of the winning candidate has indulged in a corrupt practice.
- Improper acceptance of the nomination of the winning candidate or improper rejection of a nomination.
- Malpractice in the counting process, which includes improper reception, refusal or rejection of any vote, or the reception of any vote which is void.
- Non-compliance with the provisions of the Constitution or the RP Act or any rules or orders made under the RP Act.
- If Verdict is in favour of the Petitioner (Section 84 of the RP Act):
- The petitioner may ask that the results of all or the winning candidates may be declared void.
- In addition to that, the petitioner may also ask the court to declare her (in case the petition is filed by a candidate) or any other candidate as the winner or duly elected.
- So the verdict on an election petition, if found in favour of the petitioner, may result in a fresh election or the court announcing a new winner.
- History of Election Results Declared Void:
- The most famous being the Allahabad High Court verdict of 1975 which set aside Indira Gandhi’s election from Rae Bareli constituency, four years earlier, on grounds of corrupt practice.
Provisions under RP Act 1951
- It regulates the actual conduct of elections and by-elections.
- It provides administrative machinery for conducting elections.
- It deals with the registration of political parties.
- Section 123 of the RP Act has a detailed list of what amounts to corrupt practice, including bribery, use of force or coercion, appeal to vote or refrain from voting on grounds of religion, race, community, and language.
- It specifies the qualifications and disqualifications for membership of the Houses.
- It provides provisions to curb corrupt practices and other offences.
- It lays down the procedure for settling doubts and disputes arising out of elections.