At, High Court of Kerala
By, THE HONOURABLE MRS. JUSTICE P.V. ASHA
For the Petitioners: Denizen Komath, Diastus Komath, Advocates. For the Respondents: R4, Asok M. Cherian, SC, P.G. Pramod, G.P.
1. The petitioners claim that they submitted nominations for the College Union Election which was scheduled to be held on 14.08.2019. The last date fixed for receipt of nominations was 07.08.2019 at 2PM. It is stated that scrutiny of the nominations were fixed at 02.05PM on the same date and withdrawal of the nominations was fixed on the next day. Petitioners preferred their nominations along with two of their colleagues coming under the panel of All India Students Federation
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(AISF). Their contention is that 8 out of the 10 students from the same panel were not allowed to deposit their nominations in the box on the ground that the same was not enclosed in a sealed envelop. According to the petitioners, the 2nd respondent is not expected to restrain them from putting their nominations in the box and only after putting the nominations in the box the 2nd respondent is expected to scrutinize whether it is deposited in the box in an envelop or not. It is also their contention that they cannot be restrained on the ground that nominations were not enclosed in an envelop and if at all there was no envelop it was only a technical defect, which ought to have been detected on scrutiny.
2. The 2nd respondent filed a counter affidavit stating that Ext.P4 notification was published on 01.08.2019 fixing the date for submission of nominations, withdrawal etc. Before publication of the notification, a meeting was conducted, in which all the student organisations attended and the student organisations were specifically instructed to deposit the nomination papers well before the time fixed. It is further stated that they were also instructed that they have to get the signature of the Head of the Department in the nomination form, while explaining all other formalities to the students. It is stated that the box for depositing the nomination papers was kept ready on the table of the Returning Officer as provided in Ext.P3 well before the time fixing for submitting nominations. It is also stated that all the nominations deposited in the box till the fixed time were duly received and scrutiny was conducted from 02.05PM onwards. It is stated that one nomination paper was found not in order and was rejected. The case of the 2nd respondent is that all nomination papers which were deposited in the box till 2PM on 07.08.2019 were considered at the time of scrutiny. It is further stated that Exts.P1 to P1(g) nominations produced by the petitioners were not submitted as prescribed in Ext.P3. It is also pointed out that in Exts.P1, P1(a), P1(b), P1(d) and P1(g) nominations there is no signature of the Head of the Department. It is their further case that in other nomination papers they obtained the signature of the Head of the Department at 2PM only on 07.08.2019. Therefore, according to the respondents, the petitioners do not have any right to get their nominations received for scrutiny.
3. Petitioners have filed a reply affidavit reiterating that they were obstructed from depositing the nomination papers and that they were near the nomination box by 1.45PM itself well before the scheduled time of 2PM. Pointing out that the nominations of some of the candidates from their own panel was received, they claim that they had reached before 2PM, the fixed time. It is also stated that the nominations which were enclosed in the envelops alone were allowed to be deposited inside the box and the other nominations could not be deposited in the box because the respondents obstructed the petitioners.
4. The learned Government Pleader asserts that all the nomination papers which were deposited in the box were received and scrutinized. On the other hand the case of the petitioners is that all of them were in front of and near the nomination box before the fixed time. There is no material before this Court to find out at what time the petitioners reached near the nomination box or whether they were restrained from depositing the nomination papers.
5. Therefore, I am of the view that this Court is not in a position to adjudicate the factual dispute. Then the only question which would arise is whether the nominations were enclosed in the sealed envelop or not as provided in Ext.P3. All these are matters which can be considered by the appropriate authority in an Election Petition.
Petitioners pointed out that they have submitted Ext.P5 complaint before the Chairman/Special Officer/ Grievance Redressal Cell of the College. The learned Government Pleader submits that the 3rd respondent has not received any such complaint. Therefore, there shall be a direction to the 3rd respondent to consider and pass orders on Ext.P5 complaint in accordance with law within two days.
The writ petition is disposed of accordingly