Manipur: M Rameshwar Singh declared new Kakching AC MLA

Manipur High Court on Thursday declared null and void the election of MLA Yengkhom Surchandra.

 

The Manipur High Court on Thursday declared the election result of Kakching MLA Yengkhom Surchandra Singh as null and void and in doing so, duly elected Mayanglambam Rameshwar Singh of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the new MLA of Kakching.

The Judgment was passed by single bench of Chief Justice MV Muralidaran following the election petition filed by Mayanglambam Rameshwar, BJP candidate for Kakching AC against Yengkhom Surchandra. Surchandra was elected on Congress ticket from the Kakching AC in the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly election 2017 and later joined the BJP.

Rameshwar stated in the petition that Surchandra failed to disclose full particulars of his assets and liabilities, including the assets and liabilities of his dependents spouse. He has failed to disclose vital materials information in his affidavit pertaining to his non-agricultural lands and the details of loan or dues and deposits to the bank among others, Rameshwar said. Accordingly, the petitioner pointed out that the returning officer had accepted ‘defect’ affidavit which affected the outcome of the election. M Rameshwar pleaded to declare him as the elected candidate in his election petition.

The court, while proceeding with the election petition, found that Y Surchandra had failed to mention the purchase amount and date of Maruti Gypsy. There was a huge gap to the outstanding mentioned in the affidavit and the actual outstanding which are liable to be paid to the bank.

The court also found concealing of non-agricultural land of the Palace compound and in Kakching by Surchandra failed to disclose them in his affidavit. Surchandra has failed to disclose the assets of his spouse, as his wife is a pensioner. Citing one of the Supreme Court order, the court judgment mentioned that the non-disclosure of assets would constitute a corrupt practice falling under Section 123(2 ) RP Act. The court judgment mentioned that details of vehicles, spouse and non-agricultural land as mentioned by Surchandra are wholly incorrect.

“If the basis of the election of the returned candidate, i.e the nomination of the candidate which is stated to be valid, is later on found to be not valid, as in the present case, the very basis and foundation for sustaining the election of the returned candidate goes. In other words, once the foundation is taken away, the election will have no basis to stand and this will be rendered otiose. He cannot be treated to have been elected at all. Hence, the moment there is a finding that the nomination of the returned candidate has been improperly accepted, it immediately affects the result of the returned candidate. Accordingly, if there be any burden on the petitioner to prove that the result of the election of the returned candidate has been materially affected by improper acceptance of the nomination of the returned candidate, such a burden also gets discharged immediately. Thus, there will not be any need to prove further on the part of the petitioner that the improper accetance of the nomination of the returned candidate has materially affected the result of the returned candidate. For the reasons discuused above, the election of the first respondent is declared void under section 100(1)(d)(i) of the RP Act.”, said the court.  

“This judgment will go down in the history of Manipur politics. A lesson to everyone that no one is above the law of the land”, said Rameshwar.

Y Surchandra also filed election recrimination petition against M Rameshwar seeking an enquiry on the allegation that he (Ramewshwar) had committed the crime punishable under section 193, 199, 200, 209 and 471 IPC for forging and fabricating.

However, the main election petition hearing of the court found that no forgery and fabrication against M Rameshwar. Y Surchandra has failed to produce original and certified copies of forging. The court has closed both election recrimination petition and miscellaneous election petition of Y Surchandra.

Among the candidates, Y Surchandra got 11,133 and M Rameshwar got 10,503 votes in the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly election.

As M Rameshwar run second after Y Surchandra, the court consequently declared M Rameshwar as a duly elected member of Kakching constituency and the election of Y Surchandra as null and void.

 

First Published:Nov. 5, 2020, 1:39 p.m.

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