The Punjab government on Wednesday filed a review application against the order passed on Monday by a vacation bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court by which it was required to take a fresh decision on the cancellation of nomination forms of thousands of candidates who had sought to contest the forthcoming panchayat elections.
The review application will come up for hearing on Thursday before the division bench of Justices Tejinder Singh Dhindsa and Mahabir Singh Sindhu. A mention was made by a government counsel on Wednesday before a bench for urgent hearing following which the review application was ordered to be listed on Thursday morning. Around 16 petitions of the aggrieved candidates were also listed on Wednesday. They also were ordered to be listed for hearing on Thursday.
The division bench of Justices Fateh Deep Singh and Harsimran Singh Sethi on Monday, acting on over 120 petitions against the rejection of nomination papers, in a common order directed the authorities to pass fresh orders within 48 hours on the representation of all such candidates, including those who had not approached the High Court with a writ petition, after providing them an opportunity of hearing. The candidates had alleged that their nomination papers have been rejected on different grounds but they have not been provided any opportunity of hearing.
The government in the review application, according to official sources, has argued that once the election process has started, the courts do not have a jurisdiction and the relief generally is given to only those who are before the court. “When you are extending the relief to other people, you are exercising the jurisdiction under Article 142 which you do not have. Once the election process is on, there is a constitutional bar on entertaining such petitions. The process can never be tinkered with,” said a government official.
The order was passed by the division bench after 7 pm on Monday evening and the government counsel was directed to “intimate all the Deputy Commissioners in the State of Punjab about this order and who will be responsible to forward the representations so received from such applicants/petitioners and for passing appropriate orders by the competent authorities. “
The government has said no petition copies were served to it and a simple order was passed asking to comply with the directions. “We have no idea who the petitioners are and where are they from? How are we going to implement the order,” the government official said, adding the 48-hour deadline does not also make it clear that by when the aggrieved candidates are required to file their representation before the competent authority.