“We are of the opinion that when a nomination paper is presented it is a bounden duty of the Returning Officer to receive the nomination, peruse it, point out the defects, if any, and allow candidates to rectify the defects and when the defects are not removed then alone the question of rejection of nomination would arise,” the Supreme Court of India has ruled in the matter of a case pertaining to rejection of a candidate’s nomination in RK Pura Assembly constituency of Karnataka in 2008 by the RO in 2008.
Kavitha Mahesh, a candidate, whose nomination was rejected by the RO, not at the time of receiving, but on the day of scrutiny for publication of final list of candidates, facilitating election of Nandiesha Reddy in absence of proper contest, had moved the Karnataka High Court for nullification of the said election on ground of illegal rejection of her papers. That was challenged by Reddy in the Apex Court.
In dismissing Reddy’s appeal, a bench of Justice H.S.Bedi and Justice C.K.Prasad of the Supreme Court has held, “Any other view, in our opinion, will lead to grave
consequences and the Returning Officers may start refusing to accept the nomination at the threshold which may ensure victory to a particular candidate at the election”.
This exact point I have repeatedly discussed in these pages in the matter of rejection of nomination of Ranendra Pratap Swain by the RO in Athgarh constituency.
The observation and ruling of the Supreme Court in RK Pura matter applies entirely to the case of Athgarh pending before it.
The Returning Officer has butchered democracy in Athgarh and that needs to get back life. The Orissa High Court has declared the election of the ruling party’s adopted candidate null and void. But the Supreme Court is yet to deliver its verdict as the case has, through special leave , landed before it.
Democracy cries to get back life in Athgarh. The Supreme Court should not make any delay as revival of democracy should never be delayed.
The issue has been answered by the Supreme Court in RK Pura matter. It should be applied to the Athgarh case as the issue is exactly the same.