New Delhi, Oct 13 : The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea by BJP’s Muniraju Gowda, the candidate from R.R. Nagar constituency in the 2018 Karnataka Assembly polls, challenging the High Court order declining to entertain his plea to declare him elected him against the backdrop of corrupt practices adopted by winning Congress candidate.
A bench, headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, said: “Once it is found that neither the original election petition nor the amended election petition contains any pleading of material facts which would enable the High Court to form an opinion in terms of Section 101, there was no alternative for the High Court but to strike off prayer for declaring him winner.”
Bypoll is due in the constituency on November 3, as Sri Munirathna was disqualified in November 2019, following his resignation in July 2019. Later, he joined the BJP.
The counsel for Gowda contended that due to the disqualification of Munirathna, the BJP candidate can seek to be declared as the winner.
However, the bench observed that there is one more reason why the petitioner cannot succeed: in the elections in question, there were 14 candidates in the fray, including the petitioner herein and the first respondent (Munirathna).
The top court noted that Gowda secured 82,572 votes, while Munirathna was declared to have secured 1,08,064 votes. “Therefore, in terms of Section 101 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the election petitioner should satisfy: that he received a majority of the valid votes; or (ii) that but for the votes obtained by the returned candidate by corrupt practices, he would have obtained a majority of the valid votes.”
The High Court had dismissed Gowda’s plea to bring in additional material facts in support of his plea, as he had moved the plea after lapse of 18 months. The top court this is also barred by limitation. “In view of the above, the Order of the High Court does not call for any interference. Hence these Special Leave Petitions are dismissed,” it said.
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