THE PUNJAB and Haryana High Court, Wednesday, declined to interfere with Chandigarh Returning Officer’s decision to reject nomination papers of independent candidate from Chandigarh seat, Paramjit Singh Chhatwal, after it was found that he was not a registered voter.
The division bench of Justices Daya Chaudhary and Sudhir Mittal, at the outset made it clear to the counsel representing Chhatwal, that it cannot direct the EC to accept his nomination papers at this stage as it would amount to interference in the polling process.
“You should have woken up earlier… A person contesting elections does not know…,” observed the bench regarding Chhatwal’s missing name in the electoral roll. The court further observed, “You have not approached the appropriate forum. Your nomination cannot be accepted at this stage”.
On April 30, the Returning Officer of Chandigarh parliamentary constituency, during the scrutiny process, rejected the nomination papers of Chhatwal after he could not produce certified copy of electoral roll.
While he had contended that he was issued a valid voter card in 1994, which should be considered for the purpose, the Returning Officer in the order said the voter details mentioned in the i-card were not found to be in the existing electoral roll.
The Election Tehsildar found that the candidate was not a voter.
The UT Chandigarh Chief Electoral Officer Ajoy
Kumar Sinha also, on Monday, rejected Chhatwal’s appeal filed againt rejection of his nomination papers by the Returning Officer.
“The perusal of Section 24 of Representation of the Peoples Act, 1950, makes it clear that the appeal against rejection of nomination papers by the Returning Officer cannot be filed under this section. Therefore, the present appeal is not maintainable before this authority and is hereby rejected,” Sinha had stated at the time of the order.