High Court sets aside Sakoli MLA’s election

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 01 Nov 2018 09:51:32


Staff Reporter,

Delay in giving up registration proves costly for Bala Kashiwar, a government contractor

In a major jolt to Sakoli MLA Rajesh alias Bala Kashiwar, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court set aside his election as Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) on the ground that on the date of filing nomination, he continued to be government contractor, contrary to provisions of Representation of People’s Act. The elections were held
on October 15, 2014 and results were announced on October 19.

Justice Atul Chandurkar, while allowing election petition filed by Congress candidate Sewak Waghaye, who lost 2014 Assembly elections to BJP nominee, held that Kashiwar made a request to cancel his registration as Contractor on October 20, 2014, much after September 27, 2014, which was the last date of filing nominations. This request was accepted by Public Works Department (PWD) on October 22 and document on record proves that as on the date of filing nomination Kashiwar was a registered Contractor with the Department with subsisting contractual liability and hence was not eligible to become an elected representative, the High Court noted while rejecting the justification that there was no subsisting contract.

Waghaye had approached the High Court seeking disqualification of Bala Kashiwar describing him as government contractor and produced a list of contracts executed by him and pending even while contested the polls. Kashiwar was registered as Class-IV contractor with PWD and was executing construction of enclosure for Tiger cubs in Compartment No. 543 of East Pench Range in the Pench Tiger Reserve in Ramtek tehsil; Construction of Samaj Bhawan on Varthi Road, Bhandara;Renovation/construction of Museum Building at Koradi and extension and renovation of Metro Blood Bank at Daga Memorial Hospital, Nagpur on the date of filing nomination as BJP candidate, Waghaye claimed.

In his reply, Kashiwar claimed that works were over much before he decided to contest the polls and denied any suppression of material facts in his election affidavit and claimed that he had also tendered his registration. The High Court found that though work was complete, the liability clause was applicable and security deposit was not returned to him by PWD, meaning he was not absolved as a contractor and continued as such during liability period.
According to Section 9 A of the Representations of People Act, the contractors with subsisting Government contract are prevented from contesting the elections to avoid any conflict of interest and abuse of power by elected representatives to favour his own firm.

The High Court found that in two cases the works entrusted to Kashiwar were subsisting on the date of filing nomination form and the disqualification under Section 9A of the Act would operate and declared his election as void from Sakoli assembly constituency under Section 98(b) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.  On the request of Kashiwar, the High Court had stayed the effect of judgement for 30 days to enable him to challenge it before Apex Court.

Adv Rahul Bhangde and Adv S N Tapadia represented Waghaye. AGP Shyam Bissa (State) and Adv Shashikant Borkar (Kashiwar) represented the respondents.