Sunday, July 8, 2007

Cooperative elections: HC seeks particulars of complaints

Cooperative elections: High Court seeks particulars of complaints

Special Correspondent

Says it will take serious note of any large-scale violation of election rules


“If need be, the court will invoke its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution”


CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has called for particulars relating to individual complaints and allegations of irregularities in the ongoing cooperative election process in Tamil Nadu.

When advocates sought urgent hearing of poll-related cases, Justice A. Kulasekaran said the court would not stay the process. At the same time, it would not close its eyes and ears if a prima facie case of large-scale violation of democratic norms and election rules was made out. If need be, the court would invoke its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution, he said. The matter was then adjourned to Wednesday.

While some of the petitioners alleged that their nomination papers had been improperly rejected, others said they were prevented even from filing nominations. A petitioner from Vellore district said his nomination was rejected on the ground that his proposer had not signed the form. He claimed that the paper had been duly signed.

Another petitioner said that though he had not withdrawn his nomination, he was informed that his papers were taken as withdrawn. Another petition contended that though a total of 30 persons had filed nomination papers, only 11 were validated during scrutiny. Other papers were rejected because it was sufficient to have 11 members on the Board of the society to which election was being held.

Two writ petitioners from Salem district apprehended threat from ruling partymen and sought police protection. To this, the Government side informed the court that all District Collectors and Superintendents of Police had been instructed to give adequate police protection to all cooperative societies in their jurisdiction. Protection could be extended to individuals if they were ready to bear the cost for the facility.

A petition filed by a member of the Chennai-based TB Thrift and Credit Society said the election was scheduled to be held on Saturday, which was a holiday. Responding, the Government side told the court that the election schedule was drawn up in May and it would not be possible to reschedule now. The plea was rejected by the Judge.

Government Pleader Raja Kalifulla and Additional Government Pleader I. Paranthamen, who held discussions with officials prior to the hearing, told the court that none of the petitioners had come to court with any specific allegation. “The allegations are bald, without any materials and supportive documents,” Mr. Kalifulla said. Even assuming that there was evidence, the petitioners should approach the designated election officer, who was the competent authority to look into such allegations. The Registrar of Cooperative Societies has appointed election observers and the remedy is before the Election Tribunal under Section 90 of the Cooperative Societies Act, the Government Pleader submitted.

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http://www.thehindu.com/2007/07/08/stories/2007070854140100.htm

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