New Delhi: The Election Commission has no obligation to countermand an election on the death of a registered political party candidate or an independent candidate after the list is announced, the Supreme Court has ruled.
A bench of justices RM Lodha and HL Gokhale passed the ruling upholding an appeal filed by Independent MLA Jitu Patnaik, challenging a Orissa High Court order-directed trial on the petition of a defeated Congress candidate Sanatan Mohakud from Champua Assembly Constituency.
Interpreting Section 52 of the Representation of Peoples Act, the apex court said poll can be countermanded only upon the death of a recognised political party's candidate.
"Section 52 enjoins that if a candidate set up by a recognised political party dies before the poll, the poll must be adjourned. It does not provide any obligation on the returning officer if a candidate of a registered political party, other than recognised political party or an independent candidate, dies after the list of the contesting candidates as defined in Section 38 is published," said Justice Lodha writing the judgement.