Madras High Court

Munmun Kaur –

Published On: December 04, 2021 at 17:10 IST

A Petition was filed by S. Arjunan, who had contested for the post of Chairman in the Marakkanam Panchayat Union indirect elections for the post of Chairman and Vice-Chairman.

He had alleged that the Tamil Nadu Minorities Welfare Minister Gingee K.S. Masthan had illegally interfered in the election process from the very beginning.

Initially, a meeting of ward members was held for the election of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman but the said Minister prevented the elected members from participating which led to the elections being postponed indefinitely.

Also, Senior Advocate ARL Sundaresan asserted that the Petitioner had got more votes than the elected Chairman and he asked for a recount but even that was not done because the Minister allegedly put pressure on the officials to deny the request.

He requested the Court to appoint an officer who could peruse the video footage so that what occurred during the election would become clear.

He also relied on the directions issued by the High Court to the State Election Commission in S.Kannan Vs Tamilnadu State Election Commission &Ors., for ensuring the safety of elected members.

The High Court had observed,“The State Election Commission and the State police authorities will ensure that all rightful persons entitled to enter the hall whereat the elections are to be conducted get free and easy access thereto. Complete video coverage of the process of the elections and the circumstances prevailing immediately outside the election hall should be arranged and the same preserved for at least a period of 60 daysafter the date of conduct of the relevant elections and subject to further orders that may be passed by the appropriate forum”

A Bench of Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice PD Audikesavalu observed that “A question of fact cannot be looked into by this court within the four corners of our jurisdiction. We won’t be able to look into the video evidenceeither as a question of fact. There are Supreme Court judgments on the limits of our jurisdiction”.

Therefore, citing Article 243O(b) of the Constitution, the court observed that Writ Petitions on panchayat elections cannot be entertained except by way of an election Petition.

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