SRINAGAR, May 21: The High Court today dismissed the plea seeking direction on Election Commission of India for re-fixing the date of election in recently Parliamentary election for Anantnag constituency with the recording that there is bar to interfere in electoral matter under Constitution.
The petitioner-Shams Khawaja claimed that he being a senior jurist and practicing Advocate based out of Delhi, had submitted his nomination for the Anantnag Parliamentary constituency on 03.04.2019 and 05.04.2019, which, as per the petitioner, was valid.
When the petitioner was asked by the court as to how this petition is maintainable in view of the bar to interfere in electoral matters under Article 329 of the Constitution of India, he submitted that his Constitutional right stands violated by not allowing him free movement for campaigning in the constituency. Therefore, the petitioner has approached this Court in its extraordinary writ jurisdiction for judicial review of the decision of the Returning Officer in rejecting his request for allowing him to campaign in the area of his choice, which he stated has been taken arbitrarily.
Referring to the Article 329 of the Constitution of India, Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey said that no election to either House of the Parliament or to the House or either House of the Legislature of a State shall be called in question except by an election petition presented to such authorities and in such manner as may be provided for by or under any law made by the Legislature.
“In view of what has been discussed above, it is held that the first proviso appended to Clause (b) of Article 329 of the Constitution of India does not affect the bar against calling in question an election to either House of the Parliament, except by an election petition presented to such authorities and in such manner as has been provided by and under the Act of 1951 made by the Parliament”, Justice Magrey said.
Resultantly, court said, the instant petition, calling in question the decision of the Returning Officer would not lie, as a sequel thereto, same is held to be not maintainable. “Accordingly, the writ petition is dismissed together with the connected CMs. Interim direction, if any, passed and subsisting as on date, shall stand vacated. The petitioner is left free to agitate his grievance, if any, in an election petition after the elections are over”, read the judgment.