Election panel action against Ashok Chavan stayed

November 3rd, 2011 - 6:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Nov 3 (IANS) In a breather for former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan, the Supreme Court Thursday stayed proceedings before the Election Commission (EC) into allegations that he understated his election expenses on newspaper advertisements during the 2009 assembly polls.

An apex court bench of Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice S.S. Nijjar and Justice Jasti Chelameswar stayed the proceedings after senior counsel Gopal Subramaniam mentioned Chavan’s petition challenging the proceedings before the EC.

The proceedings before the EC to ascertain the correctness of the accounts furnished by Chavan were to commence Friday.

Subramaniam said the EC had no jurisdiction to undertake such proceedings as that can be done only by an election tribunal.

The senior counsel told the court that the “jurisdiction of the Election Commission is not sufficient to go into the accuracy of the account” of the electoral expenditure submitted by a candidate.

It could only be gone into by “the electoral tribunal (presided over by a judge)”, Subramaniam told the court.

Appearing for complainant Madhavrao Kinhalkar, senior counsel Ranjit Kumar told the court that Chavan had raised the issue of EC’s jurisdiction after eight days of hearing before the poll panel. He told the court that the plea was rejected by the commission.

Kinhalkar lost to Chavan from Bhokar assembly constituency in the 2009 assembly election.

Ranjit Kumar told the court that under the law the complaint in an election matter should be decided within a year.

He said that the complaint was filed in December 2009 and it was in January 2010 that the notice was issued on the complaint. Ranjit Kumar told the court that “my petition should not become infructuous”.

The court said that it would extend the time for the disposal of the complaint.

Giving Kinhalkar, and other respondents including the EC and the Bharatiya Janata Party two weeks’ time to file their replies, the court listed of the matter for further hearing Dec 2.

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