The Madras High Court on Monday dismissed a PIL challenging affixing of thumb impression of ailing Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on nomination papers of AIADMK candidates for the November 19 bypolls, saying it is for Election Commission to verify authenticity of the papers. “In our view, it is for the ECI to verify the authenticity of the papers so far as the assignment of scrutiny is concerned and if there are any infirmities in the election process which makes the election capable of being challenged that is a matter of election petition,” the court ruled.
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Noting that the election symbols had already been alloted, the court said it was not inclined to interfere in the matter and dismissed the PIL, filed by social activist Traffic K Ramaswamy. AIADMK candidates in Aravakurichi, Thanjavur and Thirupparankundram assembly segments had filed Forms A and B, required under the symbols order rules, with the left thumb impression of Jayalalithaa, hospitalised since September 22 last, instead of her signature.
Her thumb impression was attested by a government doctor with a note saying Jayalalithaa had an ‘inflamed right hand’. The petitioner had contended that taking the thumb impression instead of signature was a gross violation of
election procedure and sought to declare it as illegal and ultra vires of the Constitution.
When the matter came up for hearing today, the Additional Solicitor General, who appeared on behalf of the EC, produced a October 27 communication addressed to the Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer, specifying the process for attestation of the thumb impression.
In response to a representation by the AIADMK for allowing thumb impression of Jayalalithaa in the forms, the EC had specified medical officer of any government hospital as the officer before whom the thumb impression may be affixed and who may attest such thumb impression. The ASG further submitted that such an attestation had been done and the nomination papers filed.
Recording the submission, the court said the petitioner was not a contesting candidate in the election but seeks to obligate himself such kind of general public scrutiny merely because in various PILs he had been entertained.
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