Team  SoOLEGAL

If The False Affidavit By Election Candidate has been Rectified Before Scrutiny It Would Not Amount To 'Corrupt Practice': SC

Team SoOLEGAL 4 Mar 2019 4:03pm

If The False Affidavit By Election Candidate has been Rectified Before Scrutiny It Would Not Amount To 'Corrupt Practice': SC

It has been recently observed by the Supreme Court of India that if a candidate contesting election rectifies the incorrect information that was given in the Nomination Paper, before its scrutiny by the returning officer, it would not be considered as 'corrupt practice'.

There were allegations filed against Jibontara Ghatowar in the election petition that she did not disclose the fact of the pendency of a criminal case, in the affidavit/ statutory form submitted under section 33A of the Representation of People Act. According to the rules, a candidate is bound to declare if he/she is accused of an offense punishable with imprisonment for two years or more in a pending case in which a charge has been framed by the court of competent jurisdiction. In this case, when the nomination papers were being filed, there was a criminal case pending against the respondent in which she was accused for offenses under sections 420/468/193 of the Indian Penal Code.

She was the returned candidate in the General Election held in 2012 to the Moran Legislative Assembly Constituency in Assam. These allegations were defended by the returned candidate in the Election petition by contending that she had furnished an affidavit subsequently pointing out that the information given by her in the statutory form was not wholly correct and in fact, a criminal case being was pending against her in the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Dibrugarh.

The election petition was dismissed by the High Court by observing that it had materially affected the result of the returned candidate because of 'improper acceptance' of nomination paper. Before the Apex court bench, assailing the High Court order, it was contended that compressing of the pendency of the criminal case in the statutory form was a proper example of the corrupt practice of undue influence. The bench of 3 judges comprising of Justice SA Bobde, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Deepak Gupta disagreed with this contention and further added that:

"This argument may have been worth considering if the respondent - returned candidate had not furnished an affidavit subsequently pointing out that the information given by her in the statutory form was not wholly correct and in fact, a criminal case being Complaint Case No.123c/2006 was pending against her in the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Dibrugarh. The respondent – returned candidate had also given the details of the criminal case in her affidavit. This, according to us, is obviously a mere mistake committed by the returned candidate while submitting the statutory form which has been duly corrected by filing an affidavit. Incidentally, there is no particular form prescribed for corrigenda."

It has been also observed by the court that this act would not amount to corrupt practice since the mistake occurred at the stage of filing the nomination form and the incorrect information that was given in the statutory form was admittedly corrected in the affidavit which was filed by her later on but before the scrutiny. "The Returning Officer was thus possessed of the correct information at the time of scrutiny. It is obvious that no votes were sought on the basis of the mistaken information supplied." said the bench, upholding the High Court order.


Tagged: falseaffidavit   candidate   supremecourt   election   corruptpractice   JibontaraGhatowar  
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