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Kerala High Court Upholds SEC’s Decision to Condone Delay in Defection Petition

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Published on: February 12, 2024 at 11:49 IST

The Kerala High Court has ruled that the withdrawal of an earlier election petition against defection is a sufficient ground to condone the delay in filing a subsequent petition.

Justice PV Kunhikrishnan dismissed a plea challenging the State Election Commission’s (SEC) order, which had condoned the delay in filing a subsequent election petition.

The petitioner, now the respondent in the SEC application, faced allegations of defection for voting against party lines and contesting the vice president election.

The initial disqualification petition was withdrawn, prompting the current application beyond the 30-day deadline specified in Section 4 of the Kerala Local Authorities (Prohibition of Defection) Act.

The Court highlighted the fundamental democratic principle that elected representatives must represent the will of their electorate and cannot change allegiance without a fresh mandate. It emphasized the importance of curbing political defection to safeguard democracy.

Referring to the aim of the 10th Schedule, the court affirmed the SEC’s justification in condoning the delay. The court held that the SEC’s decision aligned with the democratic principles enshrined in the defection laws.

Case Title: Sanitha Saji v. Salimkumar