HC allows plea against rejection of woman candidate’s poll papers

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 03 Dec 2017 11:25:46

Legal Correspondent,

Allowing the writ petition filed by Anita Arun Rahangdale against rejection of her nomination papers for the post of Sarpanch, Justice Z A Haq at the High Court here has directed the Returning Officer for elections at Gram Panchayat Thanegaon of Tirora tahsil in Gondia district, to declare the results of the Sarpanch’s election. Though the election was held, the result was not declared due to restraint imposed by the Court through its interim order on October 5 last.

In response to the petition, the Court had also given interim direction to the Returning Officer to accept the nomination papers of the petitioner and to take all consequential necessary steps in the matter. The petitioner’s poll papers were rejected on the ground that after the cut-off date -- September 12, 2001 -- third child was born to her and that is why she incurred disqualification in view of Section 14 (1) (j-1) of Maharashtra Village Panchayats Act.

It has been the case of the petitioner that first child was born to her on August 7, 2004. Second child, a daughter, was born on June 19, 2007.  Unfortunately, second child died on August 2, 2008 and then the third child, a son, was born to her on July 19, 2009. Her counsel I N Choudhari pointed out to the Court that at no point of time, she had more than two living children and, therefore, the disqualification laid down under the Act is not attracted.

In support of this submission, the counsel relied upon the Court’s judgment in the WP 3077/2012 Bharti Wadal vs Subhash Mukunde and Others, on October 4, 2012, delivered by Justice Vasanti Naik. Senior counsel C S Kaptan appearing for the respondent-objector, Ashabai Sevakram Rahangdale, submitted that relevant provisions laid down that once the third child was born after the cut-off date, the candidate incurred disqualification.

In support of this view he cited the judgment in the case Dnyaneshwar Patiram alias Ratiraj Shirbhiye vs Divisional Commissioner, 2012 (3) Mh L J 253 which was also pointed out to Justice Naik and distinguished by her. In this case, the High Court found prima facie that the  issue raised by the petitioner was covered by the judgment delivered by Justice Naik. Advocate Jemini Kasat (State Election Commission), AGP Neeraj Patil (State) represented the respondents.