Election of Congress leader as member of State Assembly null and void: Manipur HC

Kareena Eugene

On Thursday, 15th April 2021, the Manipur High Court declared the election of Congress leader Okram Henry Singh as a member of State Assembly (Wangkhei Assembly Constituency) in the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly, as null and void.

The Court came to the judgement after observing the ‘failure to disclose name of the spouse and his dependents, details of pending criminal cases and educational qualification would constitute a corrupt practice falling within the meaning of ‘undue influence’ under sec. 123(2) of Representative of People Act, 1951’.

While dealing with an election petition filed by Yukum Erabot Singh under Sections 100(1)(d) and (iv) of the Act seeking declaration of Henry’s election as void and to declare himself as the returned candidate for the said election, the observation was made by a Single Bench consisting of Justice M.V. Muralidaran.

The petitioner submitted objections to the Chief Election Agent on the 23rd and the 25th of February 2017. However, no action was taken by the authorities against Henry Singh for the concealment of pending criminal cases in the election affidavit.

According to the petitioner, on 13th February 2017, Henry Singh filed an affidavit along with the nomination paper before the Returning Officer.

However, Henry had ‘deliberately misrepresented his educational qualifications’, thereby creating a confusion for the voters. It was alleged that Henry in the affidavit filed for the 10th Manipur Legislative Assembly election had stated himself to have graduation in Bachelor of Arts but, in the 11th Assembly elections the same was changed to 12th pass.

It was also alleged by the petitioner that Henry Singh had pending criminal cases against him. The first case filed under Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act and Section 420 of Indian Penal Code, which was brought to knowledge by a CJM Court on the 10th of February 2017, much before the filing the nomination paper.

The second was a special trial case under the NDPS Act.

After making observations the Court held that, ‘The Election petition is allowed by declaring the election of the Respondent No. 1 as Member of 15-Wangkhei Assembly Constituency in the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly as null and void. The Court declared that the petitioner is duly elected as a member of 15-Wangkhei Assembly Constituency. Both the parties are directed to bear their own cost’.

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