Ernakulam, June 1, 2022: While dismissing a plea of the candidate contesting in the election to the Legislative Assembly seat of Thrikkakkara, seeking a direction to be given to the official respondents to initiate immediate action on a complaint filed by him, the Kerala High Court has refused to interfere with the on-going election process.
Referring to various judgments of the Apex Court, the Bench of Justice N.Nagaresh asserted, “It is a settled proposition of law as laid down by various judgments of the Hon’ble Apex Court including the judgment in Manda Jaganath v. K.S. Rathnam and others [(2004) 7 SCC 492] that the High Courts, in exercise of the powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, shall not interfere in the election process, once the election notification is published.”
Herein, the petitioner is a candidate contesting in the Thrikkakkara By-election, to the Kerala Legislative Assembly. The sixth respondent also submitted nomination and the Indian National Congress Arts Society (INCAS) published a Facebook post under which they offered Rs 25,001 as prize money for the Booth which canvases most number of votes for the sixth respondent in the upcoming By-election. On coming to know about this Facebook post, the petitioner filed a complaint before the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Thrikkakkara and an FIR was registered.
The petitioner thereafter submitted this complaint to the Election Returning Officer pointing out that this act was is in violation of Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. The petitioner requested the Returning Officer to take a decision on complaint before the election and to stop the election till a decision is taken but the Returning Officer informed the petitioner that the complaint could be considered only if the petitioner obtained a court order.
Considering that the petitioner had the statutory remedy of filing an Election Petition, the Bench also took note of the fact that the process of polling had already commenced and the service voters had already started to cast their votes. Thus, dismissing the petition and without interfering with the election process, the Bench held that it will be open to the petitioner to prosecute the complaint or any of his other grievances before the competent authority, in accordance with law.