Manipur High Court dismisses Surchandra’s plea seeking interim relief on order declaring his election result void

The former MLA of Kakching said he is preparing an appeal under section 116-A of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 against the judgment before the Supreme Court.

A single bench of the Manipur High Court on Friday dismissed the petition filed by former MLA of Kakching Y Surchandra, seeking interim relief on the judgment of the court declaring his election result null and void.

“The law does not permit the court to stay its own judgment and further the ground raised seeking closure of the court is totally vogue. Therefore, the court has settled that inherent power has to be exercised by the court in the interest of justice or to prevent abuse of the court to say that the order passed by it is against the interest of justice or is abuse of process of court. If that is so then the court should not have passed the order at all,” the court stated.

Surchandra, in his petition, sought to stay the operation of the judgment passed by the HC declaring his election null and void, stating that he is preparing an appeal under section 116-A of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 against the judgment before the Supreme Court.

He said that he has got a good case supported by oral and documentary evidence and is also having a chance of succeeding in the appeal before the Supreme Court. Hence, the petitioner prayed for staying the operation of the judgment.

Moreover, the petitioner said that the High Court will be closed on account of holidays and since November 7 is a holiday, he would not be able to get the certified of the judgment for preparing the appeal.

While the court on judgment order stated that the challenge in the election petition filed by M Rameshwar, who was declared as newly elected candidate, is to declare that the election of the petitioner from 37-Kakching assembly constituency as null and void. The judgment order of November 5 was allowed by the court declaring the election of the petitioner as void. The previous judgment has been uploaded in the website of the High Court in which the fact has not been disputed by the petitioner. The only ground for staying the operation of the judgment is that from November 8 to November 15, the High Court will be closed on account of holidays and November 7 is also holiday, and so there will be no sitting. In such circumstances, the only available working day is November 6 and therefore, it is not possible for the petitioner to file an appeal before the Supreme Court.

Citing the holidays of the High Court, the petitioner cannot seek stay operation of the judgment. Nothing prevented from producing the web copy of the judgment with digital signature of the authorised signatory before the Supreme Court while preparing the appeal. Therefore, the court holds the ground of holidays and has no legs to stand and the petition is on flimsy ground, it added.

The election applicant was declared as null and void in the election petition. Therefore, stay of operation of the judgment does not arise. Moreover, as per section 116-B of Representation of the People Act, 1951, a sufficient cause has to be shown to stay the operation of the judgment of the High Court but the cause shown is not sufficient, the court order stated.

The court judgment stated that if the petitioner (Y Surchandra) is really interested in challenging the judgment of the court, he can very well do so by producing the web copy of the judgment as stated before the Supreme Court.

Hence, the court stated that the election of the petitioner from 37-Kakching constituency was null and void, he could not direct that the operation of the judgment should have stayed merely on the ground that there may be delay in obtaining the certified copy when admittedly, the web copy is available on the website of the High Court with digital signature, it added.

Further, the petition by invoking the provision of section 116-B Representatives of People Act, 1951, the petitioner ought to give sufficient cause but the cause assigned in the petition to consider the petitioner’s claim for granting an interim stay of the operation of the judgment. The court finds that there is no merit in the petition and is liable to be dismissed. Accordingly, the court dismissed the petition filed by Y Surchandra, the court order stated.

First Published:Nov. 6, 2020, 11:32 p.m.

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