(Common Prayer W.P. (MD) Nos.21189 and 21190 of 2018: Petitions filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, praying to issue a Writ of Mandamus, directing the respondents to accept the nomination of the petitioner dated 06.10.2018 and permit the petitioner to contest the election to O.857, Pudur Agricultural Producers Cooperative Marketing Society, Pudur, Kovilpatti, Thoothukudi District on 11.10.2018 within the time that may be stipulated by this Hon'ble Court.
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yer W.P. (MD) Nos.21432 to 21439 of 2018: Petitions filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, praying to issue a Writ of Certiorarified Mandamus, calling for the records relating to the 2nd stage of election notification published in the news paper in Advertising No.45/2018-2019 by the 1st respondent dated 19.09.2018 and quash the same and consequently directing the respondents to conduct fresh election to O.857, Pudur Agricultural Producers Cooperative Marketing Society, Pudur, Kovilpatti, Thoothukudi District as per the eligible candidates list put up by the 2nd respondent dated 08.10.2018.)
Common Order: (P.D. Audikesavalu, J.)
According to the petitioners, they had submitted their nominations for the post of Director in the Election that was to be conducted for the Board of Directors of O.857, Pudur Agricultural Producers Cooperative Marketing Society, Pudur, Kovilpatti, Thoothukudi District on 06.10.2018.
2. In W.P.(MD) Nos.21189 and 21190, it is complained by the petitioners therein that no scrutiny has been conducted by the first respondent as per Rule 52(8) (e) of Tamil Nadu Cooperative Society Rules, 1988 and their nominations had been unlawfully rejected without any justification and they have sought for a direction to accept their nominations and permit them to contest the election.
3. In W.P.(MD) Nos.21432 to 21439 of 2018, it is complained by the petitioners that though their names were found to be in order and their names were included in the names published on that day, their names were not published in the final list on 09.10.2018. On enquiries made by them, it was informed that they have withdrawn their nominations. It is contended by the petitioners that they have neither withdrawn their nominations nor had authorised anyone to do so on their behalf. In such circumstances, the petitioners have approached this Court challenging the notification of the first respondent dated 19.09.2018 and for consequential direction to conduct election afresh.
4. When the matter was taken up for hearing before this Court on 08.11.2018 Mr.M.S.Palanisamy, the learned Standing Counsel appearing on behalf of the Election Commissioner, Tamil Nadu Cooperative Societies, Election Commission/third respondent informed that the complaints of the petitioners would be examined, and if found to be true, the election process would be directed to be carried out afresh from the stage in which the defect has been found and he would report before this Court. Accordingly, the learned Standing Counsel for the Election Commission for Tamil Nadu Co-operative Society has today produced an order on 23.11.2018 staing that on enquiry conducted by the third respondent/Election Commission for Tamil Nadu Cooperative Societies, it has been found that there have been irregularities committed in the scrutiny, rejection and withdrawal of nominations and in such circumstances, the election culminating in declaration of results that the fourth to fourteenth respondents in W.P.(MD) No.21432 of 2018 as having been elected as unopposed, has been cancelled and the election process has been directed to be conducted afresh from the stage of scrutiny of nominations and that the new time schedule for the same would be announced separately. It has been further stated that disciplinary action has been directed to be taken against the erring election officer.
5. In view of the aforesaid submissions, the impugned order issued by the first respondent declaring fourth to fourteenth respondents as having been elected as Directors of O.857, Pudur Agricultural Producers Cooperative Marketing Society, Pudur, Kovilpatti, Thoothukudi District, is set aside. The election process shall be conducted from the stage of scrutiny of nominations, which have already been received, as per the new time schedule to be announced by the third respondent/Election Commission for Tamil Nadu Cooperative Societies. The aforesaid exercise, which shall be fully videographed, shall be completed and a compliance report in that regard shall be submitted to the Registrar (Judicial) of this Court by 31.12.2018. It is further made clear that the third respondent/Election Commission shall forthwith appoint a different Election Officer against whom there are no complaints of any irregularities in the conduct of elections, to complete the election process.
6. These Writ Petitions are allowed on the aforesaid terms. Consequently, connected Miscellaneous Petitions are closed. No Costs.