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Friday, October 28, 2016

Order VI rule 16 and Order VII rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 for dismissal of the election petition contending that on account of deficiencies in the pleadings no triable issue(s) is disclosed to justify a regular trial of the allegations made. According to the appellant the election petition, in its entirety, had failed to disclose any cause of action whatsoever. Though some relief (details of which need not be noticed) was granted to the appellant by the High Court, three broad categories of allegations contained in the election petition were held to disclose triable issues. Hence a regular trial of the same was ordered by the High Court by the order under challenge. Aggrieved, this appeal has been filed. = Section 123(7) of the R.P. Act, Corrupt practice = The allegation in the Election Petition is that the post to which Jagjit Singh Suchu was transferred from the Punjab State Electricity Board was under the State Government and the assistance received by the returned candidate from the said person is while he was rendering service as Additional Superintending Engineer, namely, while he was performing the duties in the State Government. If that be so, the aforesaid issue also will have to go for a full trial as ordered by the High Court. ; efflux of time=The election took place in the year 2009. The life of the House for which the election took place has long expired. The third allegation is not one with regard to commission of any corrupt practice. Hence by efflux of time the said issue has become academic rendering it unnecessary for us to enter into any discussion on the said question.

                                                                  REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO.10353 OF 2016
                  (Arising out of SLP (C) No.14912 of 2011)


NAVJOT SINGH SIDHU                      ...APPELLANT

                                   VERSUS

OM PARKASH SONI & ORS.            ...RESPONDENTS


                               J U D G M E N T

RANJAN GOGOI,J


1.    Leave granted.
2.    The appellant before this Court  is  the  returned  candidate  in  the
election  held  on  13th  May,  2009  for  the   02-Amritsar   Parliamentary
Constituency.   The election was challenged in E.P. No.3 of 2009 before  the
High Court of Punjab and  Haryana  at  Chandigarh.  The  appellant,  as  the
respondent in the Election Petition, had filed an  application  under  Order
VI rule 16 and Order VII rule 11 of the Code of Civil  Procedure,  1908  for
dismissal  of  the  election  petition  contending  that   on   account   of
deficiencies in the pleadings no triable issue(s) is disclosed to justify  a
regular trial of the  allegations  made.  According  to  the  appellant  the
election petition, in its entirety, had failed  to  disclose  any  cause  of
action whatsoever.  Though  some  relief  (details  of  which  need  not  be
noticed) was granted to  the  appellant  by  the  High  Court,  three  broad
categories of allegations contained in the election petition  were  held  to
disclose triable issues. Hence a regular trial of the same  was  ordered  by
the High Court by the order under  challenge.  Aggrieved,  this  appeal  has
been filed.
3.    We have heard the learned counsels for the parties.
4.    The three broad categories of  allegations  which,  according  to  the
High Court, gave rise to the  triable  issues  may  now  be  dealt  with  in
seriatim.
5.    The first is with regard to incurring of expenditure in  contravention
of the limit prescribed under Section 77(3) of  the  Representation  of  the
People Act, 1951 (hereinafter referred to as “R.P. Act”).  The  gravamen  of
the allegation on the aforesaid score is as follows:
      According to the  election  petitioner,  the  appellant  had,  in  his
return of election expenses, shown a total  expenditure  of  Rs.17,03,665/-.
He had shown expenditure of Rs.3,31,054/- on  account  of  campaign  through
electronic/print media (including cable network).  The  election  petitioner
has contended that the said return of expenditure is not correct.
6.    In paragraph 9 of the Election Petition the rates of advertisement  in
different  newspapers  like  ‘The  Daily  Ajit’,  ‘Punjab  Kesari’,  ‘Dainik
Bhaskar’, ‘Jag Bani’ have been shown along  with  a  statement  that  during
election time the said charges  are  25%  more.   In  paragraph  10  of  the
election petition, the details of  the  advertisements  published/issued  by
the appellant in different newspapers during the period between 22nd  April,
2009 to 13th May, 2009 are mentioned along with the details  of  expenditure
incurred. On the basis of the figures  mentioned  in  paragraph  10  of  the
Election Petition, it is contended that the actual expenses incurred by  the
returned candidate on advertisements alone is  Rs.32,88,845/-  which  is  in
excess of the total prescribed limit of Rs.25,00,000/- (Rupees  Twenty  Five
lakh).  In paragraph 11  of  the  Election  Petition,  the  details  of  the
expenditure incurred by the returned candidate/appellant  on  advertisements
on local T.V. channels, etc. are also mentioned.  The specific pleadings  in
this regard as contained in paragraph 10 and 11 may  set  out  herein  below
for clarity:

“10.  That the details of advertisements by Respondent  No.1,  the  returned
candidate, in different newspapers and their  expenses,  during  the  period
from the date of his nomination i.e. 22.4.2009 to 13.5.2009  i.e.  the  date
of polling are as under:

|S.  |Date of   |Name of the|Page |Size of   |Rate |Amount (In|
|No. |Publica-ti|Newspapers |No.  |Advertise-|     |Rupees)   |
|    |on        |           |     |ment      |     |          |
|1.  |22.04.2009|Ajit       |7    |22 x 12 = |180  |47,520    |
|    |          |           |     |204       |     |          |
|2.  |22.04.2009|Dainik     |2    |16.5 x    |664  |2,02,686  |
|    |          |Bhaskar    |     |18.5 =    |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |305.25    |     |          |
|3.  |22.04.2009|Dainik     |1    |24 x 12 = |166  |47,808    |
|    |          |Jagran     |     |288       |     |          |
|4.  |22.04.2009|Tribune    |3    |10 x 12 = |852  |1,02,240  |
|    |          |           |     |120       |     |          |
|5.  |23.04.2009|Ajit       |7    |a) 33 x 10|     |          |
|    |          |           |     |= 330     |90   |29,700    |
|    |          |           |     |(B/w)     |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |b) 20 x 14|180  |50,400    |
|    |          |           |     |= 280     |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|6.  |23.04.2009|Dainik     |3    |25 x 32 = |747  |5,97,600  |
|    |          |Bhaskar    |     |800       |     |          |
|7.  |23.04.2009|Punjab     |1    |16 x 24.5 |225  |88,200    |
|    |          |Kesari –   |     |= 302     |     |          |
|    |          |Amr.       |     |          |     |          |
|8.  |24.04.2009|Jag Bani   |2    |10 X 16   |87.5 |14,000    |
|    |          |           |     |(B/w) =   |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |160       |     |          |
|9.  |25.04.2009|Ajit       |7    |12 x 9 =  |180  |19,440    |
|    |          |           |     |108       |     |          |
|10. |25.04.2009|Punjab     |2    |12 x 5    |     |          |
|    |          |Kesari     |     |(B/w) = 60|125  |7,500     |
|11. |26.04.2009|Ajit       |7    |16.5 x 20 |180  |59,400    |
|    |          |           |     |= 330     |     |          |
|12. |26.04.2009|Jag Bani   |1    |17 x 16 = |150  |40,800    |
|    |          |           |     |272       |     |          |
|13. |27.04.2009|Jag Bani   |2    |8 x 3 (B) |87.5 |2,100     |
|    |          |           |     |= 24      |     |          |
|14. |28.04.2009|Ajit       |7    |29 x 10 = |180  |52,200    |
|    |          |           |     |290       |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|15. |28.04.2009|Dainik     |2    |20 x 10 = |664  |1,32,800  |
|    |          |Bhaskar    |     |200       |     |          |
|16. |30.04.2009|Ajit       | 7   |15 x 8 (B)|180  |21,600    |
|    |          |           |     |= 120     |     |          |
|17. |30.04.2009|Jag Bani   |1    |10 x 12 = |150  |18,000    |
|    |          |(Local)    |     |120       |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |2    |a) 8 x 5 =|125  |5,000     |
|    |          |           |     |40        |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |b) 16 x 6 |125  |12,000    |
|    |          |           |     |= 96      |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |c) 16 x 6 |125  |12,000    |
|    |          |           |     |= 96      |     |          |
|18. |01.05.2009|Jag Bani   |1    |20.5 x 9 =|     |          |
|    |          |           |     |184.5     |150  |27,675    |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |2    |a) 8 x 5  |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 40  |87.5 |3,500     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |b) 16 x   |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |6.5 (B) = |87.5 |9,100     |
|    |          |           |     |104       |     |          |
|19. |01.05.2009|Punjab     |1    |20 x 9 =  |225  |40,500    |
|    |          |Kesari     |     |180       |     |          |
|20. |02.05.2009|Ajit       |7    |4 x 4     |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B/w) = 16|90   |1,440     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |8    |16.5. x 12|     |          |
|    |          |           |     |= 198     |90   |17,820    |
|21. |02.05.2009|Jag Bani   |2    |a) 8 x 5  |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 40  |87.5.|3,500     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |b) 8 x 5  |87.5 |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 40  |     |3,500     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|22. |03.05.2009|Jag Bani   |2    |8 x 5 (B) |87.5 |3,500     |
|    |          |           |     |= 40      |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|23. |04.05.2009|Ajit       |11   |a) 8 x 6  |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 48  |90   |4,320     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |b) 8 x 6.5|     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 52  |90   |4,680     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |c) 8 x 6.5|     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 52  |90   |4,680     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |d) 8 x 7  |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 56  |90   |5,040     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |e) 8 x 9  |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 72  |90   |6,480     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |f) 8 x 6  |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 48  |90   |4,320     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |g) 8 x 7  |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 56  |90   |5,040     |
|24. |04.05.2009|Jag Bani   |1    |33 x 5 =  |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |165       |150  |24,750    |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |2    |12 x 8.5  |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 102 |87.5 |8,925     |
|25. |04.05.2009|Amr. Kesari|1    |33 x 5 =  |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |165       |225  |37,125    |
|    |          |           |     |Party     |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |2    |8 x 5 = 40|162.5|6,500     |
|26. |05.05.2009|Ajit       |7    |33 x 8 (B)|     |          |
|    |          |           |     |= 264     |90   |23,760    |
|27. |05.05.2009|Jag Bani   |2    |a) 8 x    |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |5(B) = 40 |87.5 |3,500     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |b) 12 x   |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |6.5 (B) = |87.5 |6,825     |
|    |          |           |     |78        |     |          |
|28. |06.05.2009|Ajit       |7    |a) 33 x 13|     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 429 |90   |38,610    |
|29. |06.05.2009|Jag Bani   |2    |a) 8 x 5  |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 40  |87.5 |3,500     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |b) 8 x 6  |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 48  |87.5 |4,200     |
|30. |07.05.2009|Ajit       |7    |a) 12 x 7 |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 84  |90   |7,560     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |b) 12 x 9 |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 108 |90   |9,720     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|31. |08.05.2009|Ajit       |7    |33 x 13   |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 429 |90   |38,610    |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |8    |8 x 10 (B)|     |7,200     |
|    |          |           |     |= 80      |90   |          |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|32. |08.05.2009|Jag Bani   |1    |33 x 9 (P)|     |          |
|    |          |           |     |= 297     |150  |44,550    |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |2    |a) 8 x 7  |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 56  |125  |7,000     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |b) 8 x 10 |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 80  |87.5 |7,000     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |c) 8 x 5  |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 40  |87.5 |3,500     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |d) 8 x 5.5|     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 44  |87.5 |3,850     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|33. |09.05.2009|Ajit       |7    |a) 8 x 9  |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 72  |90   |6,480     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |b) 8 x 5  |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 40  |90   |3,600     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |c) 8 x 10 |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 80  |90   |7,200     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |d) 33 x 8 |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(P) = 264 |90   |23,760    |
|34. |09.05.2009|Jag Bani   |3    |12 x 10(B)|100  |12,000    |
|    |          |           |     |= 120     |     |          |
|35. |10.05.2009|Ajit       |1    |a) 12 x 9 |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 108 |90   |9,720     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |b) 8 x 10 |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 80  |90   |7,200     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |7    |c) 16 x 12|     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 192 |90   |17,280    |
|36. |10.05.2009|Jag Bani   |3    |12 x 10   |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 120 |100  |12,000    |
|37. |11.05.2009|Ajit       |8    |a) 12 x 8 |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |= 96      |180  |17,280    |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |b) 20 x 10|     |          |
|    |          |           |     |= 200     |180  |36,000    |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|38. |11.05.2009|Jag Bani   |2    |a) 16 x 6 |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 96  |87.5 |8,400     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |b) 24.5 x |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |8(B) = 196|87.5 |17,150    |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|39. |12.05.2009|Ajit       |7    |a) 16 x 19|     |          |
|    |          |           |     |= 304     |180  |54,720    |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|40. |12.05.2009|Jag Bani   |1    |33 x 9 =  |150  |44,550    |
|    |          |           |     |297       |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |2    |a) 8 x 4  |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 32  |125  |4,000     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |b) 8 x 4.5|     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 36  |87.5 |3,150     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |c) 12 x 9 |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 108 |87.5 |9,450     |
|41. |13.05.2009|Ajit       |7    |a) 8 x 5  |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |(B) = 40  |90   |3,600     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |b) 20.5 x |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |16 (B) =  |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |328       |90   |29,520    |
|42. |13.05.2009|Jag Bani – |1    |a) 16 x 25|     |          |
|    |          |Local      |     |= 400     |150  |60,000    |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |b) 12 x 12|     |          |
|    |          |           |     |= 144     |300  |          |
|    |          |           |     |(Hang)    |(H)  |43,200    |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |c) 4 x 5 =|     |          |
|    |          |           |     |20        |150  |3,000     |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |d) 16 x 13|     |          |
|    |          |           |     |= 208     |150  |31,200    |
|    |          |           |     |          |     |          |
|    |          |           |2    |8 x 6 (B) |     |          |
|    |          |           |     |= 48      |87.5 |4,200     |
|    |          |           |     |TOTAL     |     |19,16,234 |

“11.  The  Respondent  No.1,  the  returned  candidate,  also  displayed  an
advertisement of 70 seconds on Metro/Filmy channel  and  Movies  channel  of
Siti Cable/Digi Cable in Amritsar.  The charges are Rs.825  for  30  seconds
on Metro/Filmy channel and Rs.900/- per 30 seconds on Movie  Channel  during
the  period  22.4.2009  to  13.5.2009  between  8  AM  to   10   P.M.    The
Advertisement was displaced for 18 times on each channel.   The  details  of
the same are as under:


|S.  |Name of   |Duration of|Rate/|Total|No. of    |Amount    |
|No. |Channel   |clip (Sec.)|sec. |No.  |times of  |          |
|    |          |           |of   |of   |broadcast |          |
|    |          |           |Broad|days |per day   |          |
|    |          |           |cast |     |          |          |
|    |          |           |(Rs.)|     |          |          |
|1.  |Metro/Film|70         |27.5 |22   |18        |762300    |
|    |y         |           |     |     |          |          |
|2.  |Movie     |70         |30   |22   |18        |831600    |
|    |TOTAL     |           |     |     |          |15,93900” |



7.    Shri Vikas Singh, learned Senior Counsel appearing for  the  appellant
has submitted that under the provisions of Rules of Procedure  and  Guidance
in the  matter  of  Trial  of  Election  Petitions  Under  Part  VI  of  the
Representation  of  the  People  Act,  1951,  as  amended  (Clause  12)  and
specifically Form ‘B’ and Form ‘BB’ prescribed thereunder, it  is  necessary
for the election petitioner to enclose along with the Election Petition  all
relied upon documents in the form(s) prescribed. In the  present  case,  the
required information as per the forms prescribed had not been  furnished  by
the election petitioner. Shri Vikas Singh  has  further  argued  that  under
Section 83 of the R.P. Act an Election Petition founded  on  allegations  of
corrupt practice has to contain a concise statement of  the  material  facts
and is also required to set forth full particulars of any  corrupt  practice
that the election petitioner alleges.  In  addition,  an  affidavit  in  the
prescribed form in support of the allegations of corrupt  practice  and  the
particulars thereof is also  required  to  be  furnished.   Relying  on  two
decisions of this Court i.e. Azhar Hussain vs. Rajiv Gandhi[1] and  Ramakant
Mayekar vs. Celine D’Silva[2]  it is argued that in the present case it  was
incumbent  upon  the  election  petitioner  to  enclose  with  the  Election
Petition   photocopies   of   the   relevant   newspapers   containing   the
advertisements mentioned in paragraph 10  of  the  Election  Petition.   The
foundation of the Election Petition being the  advertisements  contained  in
the said newspapers in the absence thereof the necessary cause of action  to
justify a full-fledged trial would be absent and,  therefore,  the  Election
Petition is liable to be dismissed at the threshold.
8.    We have considered the aforesaid submission  made  on  behalf  of  the
appellant.  What is the meaning  of  the  expression  ‘material  facts’  and
‘material particulars’ need not engage any further attention  of  the  Court
in view of the long line of decisions/precedents available on the point  out
of which illustratively reference can be made to the decision of this  Court
in  the  case  of  Virender  Nath  Gautam  vs.  Satpal  Singh  and  Ors.[3].
Paragraph 50 of the  said  decision  in  Virender  Nath  (supra),  which  is
extracted  below,  would  highlight  the   distinction   between   the   two
expressions.
“50.  There is distinction between facta probanda (the facts required to  be
proved i.e. material facts) and facta  probantia  (the  facts  by  means  of
which they are proved i.e. particulars or  evidence).   It  is  settled  law
that pleadings must contain only facta probanda  and  not  facta  probantia.
The material facts on which the party relies for his claim are called  facta
probanda and they must be stated in the pleadings.  But the facts  or  facts
by means of which facta probanda (material facts) are proved and  which  are
in the nature of facta probantia (particulars or evidence) need not  be  set
out in the pleadings.  They are not facts in issue, but only relevant  facts
required to be proved at the  trial  in  order  to  establish  the  fact  in
issue.”

9.    Virender Nath Gautam (supra) dealt with an Election Petition that  did
not have any allegation of  corrupt  practice  and  therefore  the  contents
thereof were examined in the context of the  requirement  under  Section  83
(1) (a) and not Section 83 (1) (b) of the  Act  of  1951.   In  case  of  an
Election Petition founded on allegations of corrupt practice  not  only  the
‘material facts’ have to be pleaded but even the  full  particulars  thereof
have to be furnished at  the  stage  of  filing  of  the  Election  Petition
itself.  This is specifically provided for in Section 83(1)(b) of  the  R.P.
Act.

10.   Reading the averments made by the election  petitioner  in  paragraphs
10 and 11 of the Election  Petition,  extracted  above,  in  our  considered
view, it cannot be said that full particulars of the allegation  of  corrupt
practice have not been set out by the election  petitioner.   The  dates  on
which the advertisements had appeared; the particulars of the newspapers  in
which such advertisements were published; the cost incurred  for  each  type
of advertisement in each newspaper, have all been mentioned.   When  details
to the above extent have been mentioned in the Election Petition, it  cannot
be said that full particulars as required  under  Section  83(1)(b)  of  the
R.P. Act have not been furnished by the election petitioner.

11.   The insistence on furnishing photocopies of the  newspapers  alongwith
the Election Petition on the strength of the  decisions  of  this  Court  in
Azhar Hussain(supra) and Ramakant Mayekar(supra) will now have to  be  dealt
with.
      In Azhar Hussain(supra),  the  posters  in  question  which  were  not
furnished  along  with  the  Election  Petition,   itself,   contained   the
ingredients of the corrupt practice  alleged.   Hence  the  failure  of  the
election petitioner to include the said posters as a part  of  the  Election
Petition was held to be fatal. Similarly,  in  Ramakant  Mayekar(supra)  the
pleaded case of the election petitioner was that the returned candidate  had
used posters, banners and wall-paintings canvassing for votes  in  the  name
of Hindu religion. The election petitioner specifically averred that he  had
taken photographs of the wall-paintings which, however,  were  not  enclosed
to the Election Petition. The Election  petitioner  in  the  said  case  had
prayed for leave to produce the same at a later stage of the case. It is  in
the above situation, namely, where the wall-paintings itself  contained  the
ingredients of the commission of corrupt  practice  alleged  that  the  non-
furnishing of the same along with the  Election  Petition  was  held  to  be
fatal.  The above is not the situation in the present case.  We,  therefore,
hold that the averments made with regard to election expenses  in  paragraph
10 and 11 of the Election Petition require to go for  a  full-fledged  trial
and the appeal insofar as the aforesaid part of the  decision  of  the  High
Court has to fail.

12.   In paragraphs 12 to 15  of  the  Election  Petition,  the  respondent-
election petitioner, by  giving  details  of  expenditure  incurred  by  the
appellant in connection with public meetings held on different dates and  in
different venues, has contended that the expenses incurred on  these  public
meetings is much more than what has been shown in  the  return  of  election
expenses under the said head  (Rs.1,83,466/-).  While  the  details  of  the
meetings i.e. the time, date and venue are mentioned and so  is  the  number
of persons who are claimed to have attended the meetings,  we  do  not  find
any basis as to how the election petitioner had arrived at  the  quantum  of
expenses which he alleges to have been incurred by  the  returned  candidate
in holding each of the said meetings. What are the source(s) of  information
of the election petitioner with regard to the details furnished; whether  he
has personal knowledge of any of the said meetings; who are the persons  who
informed him of the details of such meetings;  what  is  the  basis  of  the
estimate of the number of persons present and the facilities  (chairs  etc.)
that were hired and the particulars of the refreshments served  are  nowhere
pleaded.  All such particulars that are an integral part of  the  allegation
of corrupt practice alleged are absent.
In the absence of the aforesaid particulars, there  can  be  no  doubt  that
insofar as the allegations made in paragraphs  12  to  15  of  the  Election
Petition is concerned, the same do not disclose any triable issue so  as  to
justify a regular trial of the said allegations. The  allegations  mentioned
in paragraphs 12 to  15,  so  far  as  commission  of  corrupt  practice  of
submission of false/incorrect return  of  election  expenses  is  concerned,
are, therefore, struck off.

13.   This will take the Court to the  second  category  of  allegations  on
which the Election Petition is founded. The  same  is  with  regard  to  the
assistance allegedly received by the appellant, as the  returned  candidate,
from one Jagjit Singh Suchu. The specific case  of  the  respondent-election
petitioner in the Election Petition filed is that  Jagjit  Singh  Suchu  was
posted as the Grid  Executive  Engineer,  Amritsar  and  he  is  a  gazetted
officer in the Punjab State Electricity Board. Shri Suchu  was  transferred,
at the instance of the appellant,  as  Additional  Superintending  Engineer,
East Division, Verka Circle, Amritsar which is a gazetted post in the  State
of Punjab.  It  is  also  alleged  that  the  returned  candidate  i.e.  the
appellant had taken the help of Shri Suchu while he was working in the  said
capacity so as to further the appellant’s election prospects.  The  detailed
pleadings in this regard are contained in paragraphs 17, 18, 19  and  20  of
the Election Petition.  We have perused the said pleadings.

14.   The contention advanced  on  behalf  of  the  appellant  is  that  the
aforesaid Jagjit Singh Suchu, on the pleadings of  the  election  petitioner
himself, is admittedly a gazetted officer of the  Punjab  State  Electricity
Board and, therefore, under the provisions of Section  123(7)  of  the  R.P.
Act, prior to its  amendment  by  Act  41  of  2009  with  effect  from  1st
February, 2010, the assistance of Jagjit Singh Suchu, even if obtained,  did
not amount to corrupt practice inasmuch  as  the  said  person  was  not  in
service of the Government.

15.   The pleadings contained  in  paragraphs  17  to  20  of  the  Election
Petition makes it clear that it is alleged that  while  Jagjit  Singh  Suchu
was an officer of the Punjab State Electricity Board the appellant  had  got
him transferred to the post  of  Additional  Superintending  Engineer,  East
Division, Verka Circle, Amritsar under the State  of  Punjab  and  that  the
appellant had received assistance from him so as  to  further  his  election
prospects. The allegation in the Election  Petition  is  that  the  post  to
which Jagjit Singh Suchu was transferred from the Punjab  State  Electricity
Board was under the State Government and  the  assistance  received  by  the
returned candidate from the said person is while he  was  rendering  service
as Additional Superintending Engineer, namely, while he was  performing  the
duties in the State Government. If that be  so,  the  aforesaid  issue  also
will have to go for a full trial as ordered by the High  Court.  The  appeal
to the aforesaid extent will, therefore, have to be dismissed.

16.   Insofar  as  the  third  allegation  of  the  election  petitioner  is
concerned, we are of the view that it would not be necessary for us to  deal
with the said question.  The said allegation pertains to  the  action  taken
by the Returning Officer on the complaint filed by the  election  petitioner
with regard to counting of votes.  The  election  took  place  in  the  year
2009. The life of the House for which  the  election  took  place  has  long
expired. The third allegation is not one with regard to  commission  of  any
corrupt practice. Hence  by  efflux  of  time  the  said  issue  has  become
academic rendering it unnecessary for us to enter  into  any  discussion  on
the said question.

17.   Consequently and in the light of  the  above,  the  appeal  is  partly
allowed to the extent indicated above. The trial of  the  election  petition
on the issues/allegations that survive in terms of the  present  order  will
have to recommence. We order accordingly.


                                                          .......………………………J.
                                          [RANJAN GOGOI]


                                                             …………..…………………J.
                                     [ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE]


NEW DELHI,

OCTOBER 26, 2016.



-----------------------
[1]     1986 (Supp) SCC 315
[2]     (1996) 1 SCC 399

[3]     (2007) 3 SCC 617



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