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Monday, March 26, 2018

Election petition - striking of pleadings and rejection = whether material facts and cause of action have been pleaded in the subject election petition necessitating a trial; and, third, whether the election petition as filed deserved to be rejected in limine without conducting a trialthe High Court has overlooked the cause of action stated in the election petition, which arose from the 14 fact that two different sets of nomination forms and affidavits were filed by respondent No.1 containing several material deficiencies and discrepancies and which was fatal. In other words, the nomination form of respondent No.1 was wrongly accepted and it materially affected the election results of the appellant.

1
REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 9466-9468 OF 2016
Madiraju Venkata Ramana Raju …. Appellant
:Versus:
Peddireddigari Ramachandra Reddy & Ors. ….Respondents
J U D G M E N T
A.M. Khanwilkar, J.
1. The present appeals emanate from the judgment and order
dated 2nd August, 2016 of the High Court of Judicature at
Hyderabad for Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, striking off
paragraphs 2 & 9 to 11 of the election petition as also dismissing
the election petition, being Election Petition No.8 of 2014 filed by
the appellant challenging the election of respondent No.1.
2
2. The election in relation to Andhra Pradesh State Legislative
Assembly was held on 7th May, 2014. The appellant and respondent
No.1 contested the election from the Punganur Assembly
Constituency. The respondent No.1 was declared as an elected
candidate. By way of an election petition, the appellant challenged
the election of respondent No.1 on the ground that respondent No.1
had grossly violated several instructions issued by the Election
Commission as also the provisions of The Representation of the
People Act, 1951 (for short, ―the Act‖). Respondent No.1, in turn,
took out two applications seeking to strike out paragraphs 2 & 9 to
11 of the said election petition and to dismiss the election petition
in limine, both of which were ultimately allowed by the High Court.
3. The background to the present conflict is set out as under:
a. On 12th April, 2014, a notice of election was issued, inter
alia for a seat from the Punganur Assembly Constituency to
the Andhra Pradesh State Legislative Assembly;
b. Respondent No.1, a member of the Yuvajana Shramika
Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) filed his initial nomination form
for the aforesaid elections on 12th April, 2014 along with two
3
affidavits and again, second nomination form on 17th April,
2014 with two fresh affidavits. Appellant, a member of the
Telugu Desham Party (TDP), filed his nomination form on 17th
April, 2014.
c. After scrutiny of the nomination forms, on 21st April,
2014, a total of 8 (eight) candidates, including the appellant
and respondent No.1, were found eligible to contest the
elections;
d. Appellant had filed objections on the same day i.e. 21st
April, 2014, objecting to the acceptance of nomination forms of
respondent No.1 on the ground that he had failed to sign every
page of the affidavits in support of his nomination forms and
had also failed to fill up all the columns in his forms, contrary
to the rules prescribed in that regard. Respondent No.1 filed
his counter to the said objection petition;
e. The Returning Officer rejected the objection petition on
the ground that the said petition needed no consideration and
was hence over-ruled;
f. The elections were held on 7th May, 2014, and results
were declared on 16th May, 2014. Respondent No.1 was
4
declared as the elected candidate, having secured the highest
number of valid votes. Appellant finished second while the
remaining 6 (six) candidates lost their deposits;
g. Appellant then challenged the election of respondent No.1
by way of an election petition dated 25th June, 2014, under
Section 81 read with Sections 83, 100(1)(a) and (d)(i) of the Act
before the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad. He also
sought a declaration that he was the duly elected member of
the State Legislative Assembly of the 284-Punganur Assembly
constituency;
h. Respondent No.1 then took out two applications in the
said petition viz. E.A. No. 329 of 2015 under Order VI Rule 16
of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (for short ―CPC‖) for
striking out the averments made in paragraphs 2 & 9 to 11 of
the election petition as being frivolous and vexatious, followed
by E.A. No. 330 of 2015 under Order VII Rule 11 of CPC
seeking to dismiss the election petition for failing to disclose a
cause of action;
i. Appellant also took out miscellaneous applications for
permission to file rejoinder affidavit, expediting the election
5
petition and for taking note of suppression of material facts by
respondent No.1;
j. The High Court vide its judgment dated 2nd August,
2016, (―impugned judgment‖) allowed both the applications of
respondent No.1, eventually dismissing the election petition for
want of cause of action. The High Court broadly considered
three points. First, the sweep of the terms ―material facts‖ and
―cause of action‖ in reference to an election petition; second,
whether material facts and cause of action have been pleaded
in the subject election petition necessitating a trial; and, third,
whether the election petition as filed deserved to be rejected in
limine without conducting a trial. While dealing with the first
point, the High Court first discussed about the inter-play
between Sections 81, 83, 100 and 101 of the 1951 Act. It held
that the mandate of these provisions is that the election
petition must contain a concise statement of material facts on
which the appellant relies and that for the election petition to
succeed, the appellant should establish that the nomination of
the returned candidate was improperly accepted and further,
due to such improper acceptance, the election of the returned
6
candidate has been materially affected. The High Court relied
upon the cases of Azhar Hussain vs. Rajiv Gandhi,
1 Ram
Sukh Vs. Dinesh Aggarwal,
2 Pendyala Venkata Krishna
Rao Vs. Pothula Rama Rao,
3 Hari Shanker jain Vs. Sonia
Gandhi,
4 and Nandiesha Reddy Vs. Kavitha Mahesh5
 and
culled out the principles as follows:-
―15) So, on a compendious study of above precedential
jurisprudence we will understand:
(i) The phrase material facts employed in Section
83(1)(a) of R.P.Act has not been defined and its meaning is a
contextual one in a given election petition.
(ii) Material facts or facta probanda are those basic,
elementary and prime facts which the election petitioner
shall plead and if traversed prove for the Court to afford a
decree.
(iii) Whereas material particulars or facta probantia are
the particulars in the form of evidence further vivify, refine
and make more clear the material facts.
(iv) Material facts are the entire bundle of facts which
constitute a complete cause of action for the petitioner and
total defence for the respondent."
Having said this, the Court then analysed the averments in the
election petition in the following words:-
―16) POINT No.2: I have carefully scrutinized the contents of
the election petition to know whether the 1st
respondent/election petitioner had pleaded all the relevant
material facts and they constitute cause of action to proceed
with trial. It is observed that in his pleadings he has

1 1986 (1) (Supp) SCC 315
2 (2009) 10 SCC 541
3 2005 (3) ALD 47
4 (2001) 8 SCC 233
5
(2011) 7 SCC 721
7
reproduced the five objections taken by him before the 8th
respondent/Returning Officer at the time of scrutiny of
nomination and reiterated that the Returning Officer has
rejected his objections contrary to the Conduct of the
Election Rules and guiding principles. He has given the table
showing the votes polled to each contesting candidate and
pleaded that he stood second highest in the tally. As rightly
contended by the petitioner except fulminating that the
Returning Officer has unduly rejected his objections, the
1st respondent has not furnished the material facts in his
pleadings as to how in his perception and in the eye of
law, the order of the Returning Officer is impugnable. A
mere scourging of the order of the Returning Officer
howsoever fiercely, it must be said, will not constitute
material facts and give rise to cause of action unless the
pleadings are balanced with the factual and legal reasons
projecting where and how the impugned order suffered
perversity and illegality. In the instant case, in my
considered view, unfortunately the pleadings are totally
bereft of such material facts. On completion of reading
of pleadings one fails to understand how the order of the
Returning Officer was at fault.
a) Paras-2, 9 to 11 are specifically attacked by the petitioner
on the ground that pleadings in those paras are not
supported by any material facts and hence they are liable to
be struck out. In para-2 the 1st respondent narrated the five
objections taken by him. In para-9 he expressed his
grievance that 8th respondent has not considered his
objection and his order is contrary to the judgment of the
Apex Court in Resurgence Indias case (10 supra). He further
mentioned in that para that as per the aforesaid judgment,
filing of an affidavit with blank particulars will render the
affidavit nugatory. In para-10 he pleaded that in the light of
the Apex Courts judgment 8th respondent ought to have
rejected the improper nomination of the instant petitioner.
He also pleaded that instant petitioner misrepresented the
Election Commission as well as 8th respondent as he has not
added Rs.21 lakhs to the gross total of his assets and
showed the gross total of his assets and showed the gross
total as Rs.2,79,67,680/- instead of Rs.3,00,67,680/-.
Whereas in para-11 under the caption Grounds 1st
respondent reiterated that 8th respondent has made
improper acceptance of nomination. The cumulative effect
of paras-2, 9 to 11 is nothing but again lampooning the
order of 8th respondent as erroneous without
demonstrating as to how his order was factually and
8
legally perverse and wrong. Even the mentioning of the
judgment in Resurgence Indias case (10 supra) and the
allegation that the petitioner suppressed Rs.21 lakhs
from the total assets, we will presently see, will not
constitute any material facts so as to strengthen the
allegations in paras-2, 9 to 11.‖
(emphasis supplied)
4. Relying on the decision in Pothula Rama Rao Vs. Pendyala
Venkata Krishna Rao and Ors.,
6 the High Court concluded that
the pleadings in paragraphs 2 and 9 to 11 were frivolous and
vexatious and not containing any material facts and cause of
action, for which the same were liable to be struck off. The High
Court then proceeded to examine the third point with an opening
remark that the election petition filed by the appellant was woefully
silent about the material facts constituting cause of action. It then
proceeded to consider the argument of the appellant as to how the
order of the Returning Officer was factually and legally incorrect. It
first considered objection Nos.1 and 3 taken by the appellant that
respondent No.1 had not signed at the bottom of each and every
page of the affidavit in Form No.26, which was violative of Rule 35
of Civil Rule of Practice and that mere signing the last page of

6
 (2007) 11 SCC 1
9
affidavit was not enough. After adverting to Rule 35 of Civil Rule of
Practice, the High Court concluded that the said Rule was
inapplicable to the Form of affidavit filed before the statutory
authority such as the Returning Officer. It then referred to the
Hand-book for the Returning Officer-2014 issued by the Election
Commission of India prescribing form of affidavit to be submitted by
the contesting candidates. As per the said instructions, the
candidate is required to sign on the last page of the affidavit. On
this finding, the objection of the appellant was negatived. While
dealing with the objection No.2(a) taken by the appellant that in
Serial No.2 of Item No.4 in one of respondent No.1‘s affidavits, the
space under the heading of Total Income shown in IT returns
relating to wife of petitioner was left blank. Further, the candidate is
not entitled to file two affidavits in Form 26 in terms of Notification
No.3/4/2012/SDR dated 24th August, 2012, issued by the Election
Commission of India. Furthermore, respondent No.1 did not
disclose the crucial information relating to criminal background if
any, assets, liabilities and educational qualifications etc., which
rendered the nomination form invalid as per Kisan Shankar
10
Kathore Vs. Arun Dattatray7. The High Court rejected even this
objection. While dealing with the instructions issued by the Election
Commission of India, the High Court opined that the candidates
were required to declare the information about the criminal
background if any, assets, liabilities, educational qualification etc.
The amended Form 26 was a comprehensive form to include all the
information that was sought in the two separate affidavits. The
revised form of Form 26 was notified in the official gazette on 1st
August, 2012, whereafter, the Election Commission of India made it
clear by its Notification dated 24th August, 2012, that the candidate
shall file only one affidavit in the revised Form 26. At the same
time, the High Court held that the Notification did not put any
embargo on the candidate to file multiple nomination papers
contrary to Section 33(6) of the 1951 Act. On this basis, the
decision in Kisan Shankar Kathore (supra) was distinguished.
While dealing with objection Nos.2(b) and 4 raised by the appellant,
that in Item No.6 the respondent No.1 did not strike-out the
inapplicable words in the Form and thus suppressed crucial facts
relating to his involvement in offence, if any, the High Court noted

7 (2014) 14 SCC 162
11
that mere failure to strike out the inapplicable words would not lead
to an inference that there was suppression of any material facts.
For, the respondent No.1 had placed on record the same facts
against columns (a), (b), (c) and (d) being not applicable. The High
Court distinguished the decision of this Court in the case of
Krishnamoorthy Vs. Siva Kumar and others 8 . In examining
objection No.2(c) regarding Item No.8(III) of Part-B of the affidavit
under the heading ‗Approximate Current Market Price‘, which was
left blank by respondent No.1, the High Court accepted the plea of
respondent No.1 that the said information was disclosed against the
columns (a) and (b). It held that the candidate is required to give the
same particulars against columns (a) and (b) and not against the
heading. The decision of this Court in the case of Resurgence India
Vs. Election Commission of India9 was thus distinguished. While
dealing with the fifth objection regarding the proxy of the
respondent No.1, namely, P. Dwarakanath Reddy, regarding failure
to put his signature on each and every page of affidavit and Form
26 and later withdrawal of his nomination, the High Court found
that respondent No.1 has nothing to do with the nomination of P.

8
 (2015) 3 SCC 467
9
 (2014) 14 SCC 189
12
Dwarakanath Reddy. In other words, the High Court examined each
objection raised by the appellant before the Returning Officer and
reiterated in the election petition on its own merit to conclude as
follows:-
―23) Thus, none of the objections raised by the 1st
respondent before the 8th respondent and repeated in his
election petition merit consideration. Apart from the above,
the 1st respondent in para-10 of the election petition has
taken a new ground to the effect that the petitioner has
concealed Rs.21 lakhs worth of movable assets of his wife
and showed his gross total value as Rs.2,79,67,680/-
instead of Rs.3,00,67,680/-. It must be held that this
objection also does not hold water. In Item No.VII the
petitioner has shown item wise moveable assets of his wifeG.
Swarnalatha and showed their gross total value as
Rs.2,79,67,680/-. However, the total value comes to
Rs.3,00,67,680/-. It is only a mistake in totaling the items of
moveable properties. Since there is no concealment of any
item, the clerical error in totaling cannot be taken as a
felony.
24) Thus, on a conspectus, the election petition is
liable to be dismissed in limine without necessity of
conducting trial for two reasons – firstly, the petition is
bereft of material facts and cause of action and secondly,
the objections raised before the 8th respondent and
repeated in the election petition do not merit
consideration, which can be and in fact, have been,
decided without necessity of conducting trial. It is true
that in Ashraf Kokkurs case (5 supra) cited by the 1st
respondent the Apex Court held that when the facts disclose
material facts and cause of action though not complete
cause of action, the election petition need not be dismissed
at the threshold. However, in the instant case, as already
observed supra, the election petition totally lacks
material facts except repetition of the objections raised
before the 8th respondent. Therefore, election petition
merits dismissal.
a) As already stated supra, the 1st respondent has raised
some new objections with regard to alleged suppression of 
13
assets of the petitioner and his wife in his counter for the
first time but not pressed the said objection. Hence, the said
objection is not taken into consideration. So, at the outset,
the two petitions filed by the petitioner deserve to be allowed
and consequently the election petition is liable to be
dismissed in limine.
This point is answered accordingly.‖
 (emphasis supplied)
On this basis, the High Court allowed EA No. 329 of 2015 filed by
respondent No.1 for striking out the pleadings in paragraphs 2 and
9 to 11 of the election petition being frivolous and vexatious and not
containing material facts and cause of action therein. The High
Court also allowed the second application filed by respondent No.1
being EA No.330 of 2015 and rejected the Election Petition No.8 of
2014 in limine.
5. We have heard Mr. Siddharth Luthra, learned senior counsel
appearing for the appellant and Mr. Raju Ramachandran, learned
senior counsel appearing for the contesting respondent.
6. The principal contention of the appellant is that whilst
dismissing his election petition, the High Court has overlooked the
cause of action stated in the election petition, which arose from the 
14
fact that two different sets of nomination forms and affidavits were
filed by respondent No.1 containing several material deficiencies
and discrepancies and which was fatal. In other words, the
nomination form of respondent No.1 was wrongly accepted and it
materially affected the election results of the appellant. According to
the appellant, the affidavits filed by respondent No.1 in support of
his nomination forms admittedly contained blank columns and did
not contain his signature on every page, which was not only in
contravention of several judgments of this Court, but also violated
Section 125A(i) of the Act and additionally, was also against several
circulars issued by the Election Commission. Respondent No.1 also
filed two affidavits along with each one of his nomination forms, in
direct contravention of the mandate in the instructions issued by
the Election Commission permitting for only one affidavit to be filed.
Further, perusal of the said affidavits would reveal that respondent
No.1 had suppressed crucial information relating to movable and
immovable assets owned by him and his family members and in
fact, filed a conflicting affidavit before the Speaker of the State
Legislative Assembly. In light of respondent No.1‘s suppression of
significant information, the matter in issue required a full-fledged
15
trial and the High Court committed manifest error in dismissing the
election petition in limine. The High Court also erred in striking off
paragraphs 2 and 9 to 11 of the election petition on the ground that
the averments contained therein were vexatious and frivolous,
without giving any legal justification for the same. The High Court
also took into account pleadings made in the counter/reply
submitted by respondent No.1 as opposed to only considering the
averments made in the election petition. Further, respondent No.1
had failed to specifically deny the allegations/averments in the
election petition.
7. Mr. Siddharth Luthra relies upon the judgments of this Court
in Resurgence India (supra), Krishna Murthy (supra), Duni
Chand Vs. State of Himachal Pradesh & Ors.
10, Kuldeep Singh
Pathania Vs. Bikram Singh Jaryal11, D. Ramachandran Vs.
RV Jankiraman & Ors.12, Asharaf Kokkur Vs. KV Abdul Khader
& Ors.13, Virender Nath Gautam Vs. Satpal Singh & Ors.14,
Kishan Shankar Kathore (supra), Harkirat Singh Vs. Amrinder

10 (2014) 16 SCC 152
11 (2017) 5 SCC 345
12 (1999) 3 SCC 267
13 (2015) 1 SCC 129
14 (2007) 3 SCC 617
16
Singh15, Mohd. Akbar Vs. Ashok Sahu & Ors.16, RK Roja Vs. US
Rayudu & Anr. 17 , Mairembam Prithviraj Vs. Pukhrem
Sharathchandra Singh 18 and Shri Balwant Singh Vs. Sri
Laxmi Narain19.
8. Per contra, Mr. Raju Ramachandran, learned senior counsel
appearing for respondent no.1, submits that the findings of the
Returning Officer, as regards the objections taken by the appellant
to respondent No.1‘s nomination form, were just and proper. He
submits that every election petition is not required to go for trial,
merely for performing a formal exercise. The present case was
purely based on documents on record and there was no
requirement of leading evidence in that regard. Even before the
High Court, only technical pleas were argued, none of which were
borne out by the record. As per Section 36(4) of the Act, respondent
No.1‘s nomination paper could be rejected merely on technical
pleas. Since it is well settled that an election petition was a
statutory proceeding and not an action at law or a suit in equity,

15 (2005) 13 SCC 511
16 (2015) 14 SCC 519
17 (2016) 14 SCC 725
18 (2017) 2 SCC 487
19 AIR 1960 SC 770
17
the determination of such petition had to be in consonance with
Section 36(4) of the Act. Further, the sine qua non for declaring an
election void under Section 100(1)(d) of the Act was to plead and
also establish that improper acceptance of nomination had
materially affected the results of the election, which, in the present
case, appellant had failed to assert. No such pleading of material
fact had been made by appellant. Similarly, the election petition, as
filed, failed to disclose even the material particulars of facts to
establish a cause of action warranting a trial. Finally, appellant had
introduced fresh allegations into his petition, including suppression
of assets and fraud, by way of counter affidavits to the application
filed by respondent No.1. This clearly went against the established
law that new facts could not be introduced in an election petition
beyond a period of 45 days after declaration of the result of the
impugned election. For, the election petition had been filed in June
2014, whereas the counter affidavits were filed around a year later
i.e. June 2015 and, therefore, the averments contained therein
could not be taken into consideration.
18
9. Mr. Ramachandran relied upon the following judgments:
Pothula Rama Rao (supra), Samant N. Balkrishna & Anr. Vs.
George Fernandez & Ors.20, L.R. Shivaramagowda & Ors. Vs.
T.M. Chandrashekar (Dead) by LRs & Ors.21, Ram Sukh Vs.
Dinesh Aggarwal 22 , Mangani Lal Mandal Vs. Bishnu Deo
Bhandari23, Shambhu Prasad Sharma Vs. Charandas Mahant
& Ors.24, Hukumdev Narain Yadav Vs. Lalit Narain Mishra25, K.
Venkateswara Rao & Anr. Vs. Bekkam Narasimha Reddi &
Ors. 26 , Harmohinder Singh Pradhan Vs. Ranjeet Singh
Talwandi & Ors. 27, Hari Shanker Jain Vs. Sonia Gandhi28
and Tek Chank Vs. Dile Ram29.
10. The central issue in these appeals is: whether the contents of
the subject election petition disclose cause of action warranting a
trial? The High Court by a composite judgment allowed the two
applications filed by respondent No.1 (returned candidate) praying

20 1969 (3) SCC 238
21 (1999) 1 SCC 666
22 (2009) 10 SCC 541
23 (2012) 3 SCC 314
24 (2012) 11 SCC 390
25 (1974) 2 SCC 133
26 (1969) 1 SCR 679; AIR 1969 SC 872
27 (2005) 5 SCC 46
28 (2001) 8 SCC 233
29 (2001) 3 SCC 290
19
for striking out paragraphs 2 & 9 to11 of the election petition, being
frivolous and vexatious and not containing any material facts and
not disclosing any cause of action; and the second application for
rejecting the election petition in limine for non-disclosure of cause of
action.
11. Ordinarily, an application for rejection of election petition in
limine, purportedly under Order VII Rule 11 for non-disclosure of
cause of action, ought to proceed at the threshold. For, it has to be
considered only on the basis of institutional defects in the election
petition in reference to the grounds specified in clauses (a) to (f) of
Rule 11. Indeed, non-disclosure of cause of action is covered by
clause (a) therein. Concededly, Order VII of the CPC generally deals
with the institution of a plaint. It delineates the requirements
regarding the particulars to be contained in the plaint, relief to be
specifically stated, for relief to be founded on separate grounds,
procedure on admitting plaint, and includes return of plaint. The
rejection of plaint follows the procedure on admitting plaint or even
before admitting the same, if the court on presentation of the plaint
is of the view that the same does not fulfill the statutory and
20
institutional requirements referred to in clauses (a) to (f) of Rule 11.
The power bestowed in the court in terms of Rule 11 may also be
exercised by the court on a formal application moved by the
defendant after being served with the summons to appear before
the Court. Be that as it may, the application under Order VII Rule
11 deserves consideration at the threshold.
12. On the other hand, the application for striking out pleadings
in terms of Order VI Rule 16 may be resorted to by the
defendant(s)/respondent(s) at any stage of the proceedings, as is
predicated in the said provision. The pleading(s) can be struck off
by the Court on grounds specified in clauses (a) to (c) of Rule 16.
13. Indeed, if the defendant moves two separate applications at
the same time, as in this case, it would be open to the court in a
given case to consider both the applications together or
independent of each other. If the court decides to hear the
application under Order VII Rule 11 in the first instance, the court
would be obliged to consider the plaint as filed as a whole. But if
the court decides to proceed with the application under Order VI
Rule 16 for striking out the pleadings before consideration of the
21
application under Order VII Rule 11 for rejection of the plaint, on
allowing the former application after striking out the relevant
pleadings then the court must consider the remainder pleadings of
the plaint in reference to the postulates of Order VII Rule 11, for
determining whether the plaint (after striking out pleadings)
deserves to be rejected in limine.
14. In the present case, the High Court has presumably adopted
the latter course. It first proceeded to examine the application for
striking out the pleadings in paragraphs 2 & 9 to 11 of the election
petition being frivolous and vexatious and also because the same
did not disclose any cause of action. And having accepted that
prayer, it proceeded to reject the election petition on the ground
that it did not disclose any cause of action. However, we find that
the High Court has muddled the analysis of the pleadings. It merely
focused on the pleadings in paragraphs 2 & 9 to 11 of the election
petition. It is one thing to strike out the stated pleadings being
frivolous and vexatious but then it does not follow that the rest of
the pleadings which would still remain, were not sufficient to
proceed with the trial or disclose any cause of action, whatsoever,
22
for rejecting the plaint as a whole in limine or to hold that it did not
warrant a trial. No such finding can be discerned from the
judgment under appeal. Be that as it may, the High Court
committed manifest error in striking out the pleadings in
paragraphs 2 & 9 to 11 of the election petition, being frivolous and
vexatious by considering the factual matrix noted therein as
untenable on merit. For striking out the pleadings or for that
matter, rejecting the plaint (election petition), the High Court is not
expected to decide the merits of the controversy referred to in the
election petition. We shall elaborate on this aspect a little later.
15. Reverting to the contents of the election petition in paragraph
1, it is asserted that the election petition was to challenge the
declaration of election of respondent No.1 to the 284-Punganur
Assembly Constituency of Andhra Pradesh. The election petitioner
has then given the other factual details relating to the election
process, which concluded with the declaration of results on 16th
May, 2014. In paragraph 2, the election petitioner (appellant herein)
has asserted that he was challenging the election on the ground of
improper acceptance of nomination of respondent No.1 by the
23
Returning Officer (respondent No.8). It is pointed out that the
Returning Officer entertained two sets of nominations of respondent
No.1, despite the written objections taken by the appellant. The
nature of five objections taken by the appellant before the Returning
Officer have been mentioned, including the violation of Rule 35 of
Civil Rules of Practice and also Rule 4A of Election Rule, 1961 and
non-signing of each and every page at the bottom of the nomination
form. The five objections taken before the Returning Officer have
been reproduced as follows:
―Objection No.1: The 1st Respondent who filed nominations
has failed to sign on bottom of each and every page of the
affidavits in Form-26 as contemplated under Civil Rules of
Practice and also deliberately violated the conduct of
Election Rules.
Objection No.2: The 1st respondent as a candidate failed to
fill up the affidavit at
a. The Column No.4 and Column No.2 under the head of total
Income shown in Income Tax returns.
b. The two sets of affidavits at Column No.6 have not properly
strike off which ever not applicable.
c. The Respondent No.1 in his two sets of affidavits kept blank
at Column No.8 (B) (III), where the words stand of
―Approximate Current market Price of …‖ at Part-B of (11)
abstract of the details given in (1) to (10) of Part-A. This is
mandatory as per the Conduct of Election Rules and also the 
24
recent Apex Court judgment, circulated under Instruction
No.18 to the Returning Officer.
Objection No.3: The Respondent No.1 has not singed on each
and every page in the affidavit of Form-26 as contemplated
under Civil Rules of Practice and also contemplated under
Hand Book of Returning Officers-2014 under Chapter
5.20.1.
Objection No.4: The Respondent No.1 in his affidavit at
Column No.6 has not properly struck off ―which ever not
applicable.
Objection No.5: The proxy of the 1st respondent namely P.
Dwarakanath Reddy did not file his affidavit properly and
also not put his signatures and date on each and every page
of Form-26. Later he has withdrawn his nomination.‖
16. In paragraph 3 of the election petition, it has been asserted
that the appellant had raised objections before the Returning
Officer on 21st April, 2014. Further, respondent No.1 had given
authorization to one Shri V. Sreerami Reddy to answer the
objections, who then filed a reply to the objections taken by the
appellant by merely denying and asserting that the same were
purely technical grounds and, therefore, to reject the same. In
paragraph 4 of the election petition, reference is made to the
proceedings before the Returning Officer as to how the objections
were rejected by him. It is then asserted that the rejection was for
the reasons best known to the Returning Officer and contrary to the
25
mandatory Conduct of Election Rules and governing provisions and
instructions given to the Returning Officer by way of Compendium
Instructions, Volume-2 supplied to the Returning Officer(s) in light
of the Supreme Court judgment regarding the affidavits and blank
columns. It is then stated that the Returning Officer had also
circulated ―do‘s and dont‘s‖ along with the check-list to every
candidate contesting the election which clearly stated that the
candidates must strictly follow the procedure stipulated under the
Election Rules. The said instructions were supplied to the
candidates along with the set of nomination papers highlighting the
decision of this Court in Resurgence India (supra), regarding the
consequence of keeping the relevant columns in the nomination
Form-26, blank. In paragraph 5 of the election petition, it is stated
that the appellant had applied for a certificate of its objection,
authorization given to the third party and counter, respectively. In
paragraph 6, it is asserted that the appellant secured second
highest votes and respondent No.1 was declared elected candidate.
The tally of votes secured by the 8 candidates who contested the
election has been given in this paragraph. In paragraph 7, it is
pointed out that the Government of India issued a notification in its
26
extraordinary Gazette published on 1st August, 2012 and amended
Form-26 under Rule 4A of the Conduct of Election (Amendment)
Rules, 2012. In the footnote of the Gazette Notification, Note-1 to
Note-4 have been given which are relevant instructions for
accepting a valid Form-26 given to the Returning Officer. Those
notes have been reproduced as follows:
―Note: 1: Affidavit should be filed latest by 3.00 PM on the
last day of filing nomination.
Note: 2: Affidavit should be sworn before on Oath
Commissioner or Magistrate of the First Class or before a
Notary Public.
Note: 3: All column should be filled up and no column to be
left blank. If there is no information to furnish in respect of
any item, either ‗Nil‘ or ‗Not applicable‘ as the case may be,
should be mentioned.
Note: 4: The Affidavit should be either typed or written
legibly and neatly.‖
17. In paragraph 8 of the election petition, it is asserted that after
the aforementioned Government Notification, the Election
Commission of India issued proceedings bearing No.3/4/2012/SDR
dated 24.8.2012, Annexure-X directing all the State Election
Commissions, political parties and other organizations to follow the
single affidavit strictly in accordance with Form-26.
18. In paragraph 9 of the election petition, the appellant has
asserted that the objections taken by the appellant were not
27
considered by the Returning Officer, for which reason the decision
of the Returning Officer was contrary to the decision of this Court in
the case of Resurgence India (supra). Paragraph 27 of the said
judgment has been highlighted by the appellant. It is then asserted
that the contents of paragraph 27 were circulated along with the
nomination papers by the Returning Officer to every candidate.
Thus, respondent No.1 was aware about the same. Further,
respondent No.1 did not sign each page of Form-26 in both the sets
of nomination papers filed before the Returning Officer. The two
sets of nomination papers were attested by the same Notary on the
last page of both the sets of nomination papers filed by respondent
No.1, and so the omission of signature and blank columns are ―not
in the nature of technical mistakes at all‖. This assertion is followed
by the averments in paragraph 10 that the Returning Officer ought
to have rejected the nomination form of respondent No.1 at the
threshold in light of the decision of this Court. This is to assert that
it was improper nomination of respondent No.1, wrongly accepted
by the Returning Officer as contemplated under Section 100(1)(d)(i)
of the 1951 Act. It is then stated that the Returning Officer was
fully aware about the requirements as per the decision of this
28
Court, including the election material such as Handbook for
Returning Officer-2014, General Elections-2014, Compendium
Instructions, Volume-2 and Form-26 circulated by him. It is then
asserted that in spite of that the Returning Officer accepted the
nomination of respondent No.1, which enabled the respondent No.1
to contest the election and eventually get elected. The declaration of
election of respondent No.1 by the Returning Officer (respondent
No.8) was thus a clear abuse of the process of law in light of the
decision of this Court. It is also asserted that respondent No.1
misrepresented the Election Commission as well as the Returning
Officer (respondent No.8) by giving false information in a casual
manner, at paragraph 7A regarding the details of Immovable Assets
in the two sets of affidavits in Form-26, by showing the gross total
value of Rs.2,79,67,680/- instead of Rs.3,00,67,680/- and
deliberately did not count the column amount at 7(vii) of
Rs.21,00,000/-.
19. In paragraph 11 of the election petition, it is stated that the
nomination forms (Form-26) filed by the appellant and respondent
No.1 in two sets, may be treated as forming part of the election
29
petition along with the grounds of the election petition. Indeed, the
opening part of paragraph 11 is not happily worded but it certainly
conveys that the nomination form of the respective candidates be
treated as forming part of the election petition and by reference
thereto, the same would become an integral part of the election
petition. The grounds have been articulated in paragraph 11 which
reads thus:
―GROUNDS
a). Whether the 8th Respondent has ignored the
Constitutional Spirit of Representation of the People Act (Act
43 of 1950) and Act 43 of 1951 with allied Acts, Rules,
Orders, Model Code of Conduct for Guidance of Candidates
supplied by the Election Commission for the Election 284,
Punganur Assembly Constituency failing to conduct a fair
scrutiny in accordance with the law while conducting a fair
scrutiny of the nomination of the Respondent No.1 Form-26
in accordance with law?
b). Whether the 8th Respondent acceptance of the improper
nomination of Forum-26 application as contemplated despite
the fatal omission of blank column under Section 100 (1) (d)
(i) of Representation of the People Act, 1951 of the two sets of
affidavits of the Respondent No.1 kept in blank at Column
No.8 (B) (III), where the words stand of ―Approximate Current
market Price of …‖ at Part-B of (11) abstract of the details
given in (1) to (10) of Part-A?
c). Whether the Respondent No.1 election to 284, Punganur
Assembly Constituency can be set aside on the grounds that
the Respondent No.8/Returning Officer has accepted the 
30
improper nomination Form vide Form-26 with omissions of
not signing on each and every page of the affidavit and not
keep intact of filling of the blanks contrary to the spirit of the
Apex Court judgment rendered in Resurgence India Vs.
Election Commission of India & Anr., held in Writ Petition
(Civil) No.121 of 2008 dt. 13.09.2013?
d). Whether the Respondent No.1 Affidavit with blank
particulars will render the affidavit nugatory and hit by
Section 125 A(i) of Representation of Peoples Act, 1951
directly and has to set aside the election?‖
20. On the basis of these pleadings, the appellant has prayed for
the following reliefs in the election petition:

―17. Under these circumstances it is prayed that this Hon‘ble
Court may be pleased to:
a) declare the election of Peddireddigari Ramachandra Reddy
(Respondent No.1) to the 284 Punganur Assembly
Constituency to be null and void and set-aside the same:
b) Further declare that the Petitioner has been duly elected
as Member of State Legislative Assembly of the 284
Punganur Assembly Constituency under Section 84 of the
Representation of the People Act 1951.
c) Award the costs of the petition
d) And pass such other order or orders as it may deem fit
and proper in the circumstances of the case.‖
21. It is well settled that the election petition will have to be read
as a whole and cannot be dissected sentence-wise or paragraphwise
to rule that the same does not disclose a cause of action.
31
Cause of action embodies a bundle of facts which may be necessary
for the plaintiffs to prove in order to get a relief from the Court. The
reliefs claimed by the appellant are founded on grounds inter alia
ascribable to Section 100(1)(d)(i). Further relief has been claimed to
declare the appellant as having been elected under Section 101 of
the 1951 Act. The cause of action for filing the election petition,
therefore, was perceptibly in reference to the material facts
depicting that the nomination form of respondent No.1 was
improperly accepted by the Returning Officer.
22. On reading the election petition as a whole, we have no
hesitation in taking a view that the High Court misdirected itself in
concluding that the election petition did not disclose any cause of
action with or without paragraphs 2 & 9 to 11 of the election
petition. Indeed, the pleadings of the election petition should be
precise and clear containing all the necessary details and
particulars as required by law. ‗Material facts‘ would mean all the
basic facts constituting the ingredients of the grounds stated in the
election petition in the context of relief to declare the election to be
void. It is well established that in an election petition, whether a
32
particular fact is material or not and as such required to be
pleaded, is a question which depends on the nature of the grounds
relied upon and the special circumstances of the case. Particulars,
on the other hand, are the details of the case set up by the party.
The distinction between ―material facts‖ and ―full particulars‖ has
been delineated in the case of Mohan Rawale v. Damodar
Tatyaba30. This judgment has been adverted to in the reported
decision relied by the parties. The Court noted thus:
―10. We may take up the last facet first. As Chitty, J.
observed, ―There is some difficulty in affixing a precise
meaning to‖ the expression ―discloses no reasonable cause of
action or defence‖. He said: ―In point of law … every cause of
action is a reasonable one.‖ (See Republic of Peru v. Peruvian
Guano Co.31) A reasonable cause of action is said to mean a
cause of action with some chances of success when only the
allegations in the pleading are considered. But so long as
the claim discloses some cause of action or raises some
questions fit to be decided by a Judge, the mere fact
that the case is weak and not likely to succeed is no
ground for striking it out. The implications of the
liability of the pleadings to be struck out on the ground
that it discloses no reasonable cause of action are quite
often more known than clearly understood. It does
introduce another special demurrer in a new shape. The
failure of the pleadings to disclose a reasonable cause of
action is distinct from the absence of full particulars.
The distinctions among the ideas of the ―grounds‖ in Section
81(1); of ―material facts‖ in Section 83(1)(a) and of ―full

30
 (1994) 2 SCC 392
31
 (1887) 36 Ch D 489
33
particulars‖ in Section 83(1)(b) are obvious. The provisions of
Section 83(1)(a) and (b) are in the familiar pattern of Order
VI, Rules 2 and 4 and Order 7, Rule 1(e) Code of Civil
Procedure. There is a distinction amongst the ‗grounds‘ in
Section 81(1); the ‗material facts‘ in Section 83(1)(a) and ―full
particulars‖ in Section 83(1)(b).
11. Referring to the importance of pleadings a learned author
says:
―Pleadings do not only define the issues between the parties
for the final decision of the court at the trial, they manifest
and exert their importance throughout the whole process of
the litigation. … They show on their face whether a
reasonable cause of action or defence is disclosed. They
provide a guide for the proper mode of trial and particularly
for the trial of preliminary issues of law or fact. They
demonstrate upon which party the burden of proof lies, and
who has the right to open the case. They act as a measure
for comparing the evidence of a party with the case which he
has pleaded. They determine the range of the admissible
evidence which the parties should be prepared to adduce at
the trial. They delimit the relief which the court can award.
…‖
[See: Jacob: ―The Present Importance of Pleadings‖ (1960)
Current Legal Problems, at pp. 175-76].
12. Further, the distinction between ―material facts‖ and ―full
particulars‖ is one of degree. The lines of distinction are not
sharp. ―Material facts‖ are those which a party relies upon
and which, if he does not prove, he fails at the time.
13. In Bruce v. Odhams Press Ltd.32 Scott L.J. said: ―The
word ‗material‘ means necessary for the purpose of
formulating a complete cause of action; and if any one
‗material‘ statement is omitted, the statement of claim is
bad.‖ The purpose of ―material particulars‖ is in the context
of the need to give the opponent sufficient details of the

32 (1936) 1 KB 697 : (1936) 1 All ER 287
34
charge set up against him and to give him a reasonable
opportunity.
14. Halsbury refers to the function of particulars thus:
―The function of particulars is to carry into operation the
overriding principle that the litigation between the parties,
and particularly the trial, should be conducted fairly, openly
and without surprises, and incidentally to reduce costs. This
function has been variously stated, namely either to limit the
generality of the allegations in the pleadings, or to define the
issues which have to be tried and for which discovery is
required.‖
(See: Pleadings Vol. 36, para 38)
15. In Bullen and Leake and Jacob‘s ―Precedents of
Pleadings‖ 1975 Edn. at p. 112 it is stated:
―The function of particulars is to carry into operation the
overriding principle that the litigation between the parties,
and particularly the trial, should be conducted fairly, openly
and without surprises and incidentally to save costs. The
object of particulars is to ‗open up‘ the case of the opposite
party and to compel him to reveal as much as possible what
is going to be proved at the trial, whereas, as Cotton L.J. has
said, ‗the old system of pleading at common law was to
conceal as much as possible what was going to be proved at
the trial‘.‖
16. The distinction between ‗material facts‘ and ‗particulars‘
which together constitute the facts to be proved — or the
facta probanda — on the one hand and the evidence by
which those facts are to be proved — facta probantia — on
the other must be kept clearly distinguished. In Philipps v.
Philipps33, Brett, L.J. said:
―I will not say that it is easy to express in words what are the
facts which must be stated and what matters need not be
stated. … The distinction is taken in the very rule itself,
between the facts on which the party relies and the evidence

33
 (1878) 4 QBD 127, 133
35
to prove those facts. Erle C.J. expressed it in this way. He
said that there were facts that might be called the allegata
probanda, the facts which ought to be proved, and they were
different from the evidence which was adduced to prove
those facts. And it was upon the expression of opinion of
Erle C.J. that Rule 4 [now Rule 7(1)] was drawn. The facts
which ought to be stated are the material facts on which the
party pleading relies.‖
17. Lord Denman, C.J. in Willians v. Wilcox34 said:
―It is an elementary rule in pleading that, when a state of
facts is relied it is enough to allege it simply, without setting
out the subordinate facts which are the means of proving it,
or the evidence sustaining the allegations.‖
18. An election petition can be rejected under Order VII
Rule 11(a) CPC if it does not disclose a cause of action.
Pleadings could also be struck out under Order VI Rule
16, inter alia, if they are scandalous, frivolous or
vexatious. The latter two expressions meant cases where
the pleadings are obviously frivolous and vexatious or
obviously unsustainable.‖
 (emphasis supplied)
23. In the case of Harkirat Singh (supra), this Court once again
reiterated thus:
―46. From the above provisions, it is clear that an election
petition must contain a concise statement of ―material facts‖
on which the petitioner relies. It should also contain ―full
particulars‖ of any corrupt practice that the petitioner
alleges including a full statement of names of the parties
alleged to have committed such corrupt practice and the
date and place of commission of such practice. Such election
petition shall be signed by the petitioner and verified in the
manner laid down in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908

34 (1838) 8 Ad & EI 331
36
(hereinafter referred to as ―the Code‖) for the verification of
pleadings. It should be accompanied by an affidavit in the
prescribed form in support of allegation of such practice and
particulars thereof.
47. All material facts, therefore, in accordance with the
provisions of the Act, have to be set out in the election
petition. If the material facts are not stated in a petition, it is
liable to be dismissed on that ground as the case would be
covered by clause (a) of sub-section (1) of Section 83 of the
Act read with clause (a) of Rule 11 of Order 7 of the Code.
48. The expression “material facts” has neither been
defined in the Act nor in the Code. According to the
dictionary meaning, “material” means “fundamental”,
“vital”, “basic”, “cardinal”, “central”, “crucial”,
“decisive”, “essential”, “pivotal”, “indispensable”,
“elementary” or “primary”. Burton’s Legal Thesaurus
(3rd Edn.), p. 349.] The phrase “material facts”,
therefore, may be said to be those facts upon which a
party relies for its claim or defence. In other words,
“material facts” are facts upon which the plaintiff’s
cause of action or the defendant’s defence depends.
What particulars could be said to be “material facts”
would depend upon the facts of each case and no rule of
universal application can be laid down. It is, however,
absolutely essential that all basic and primary facts
which must be proved at the trial by the party to
establish the existence of a cause of action or defence
are material facts and must be stated in the pleading by
the party.‖
 (emphasis supplied)
Again in paragraphs 51 & 52, this Court observed thus:
“51. A distinction between “material facts” and
“particulars”, however, must not be overlooked.
“Material facts” are primary or basic facts which must be
37
pleaded by the plaintiff or by the defendant in support of
the case set up by him either to prove his cause of
action or defence. “Particulars”, on the other hand, are
details in support of material facts pleaded by the party.
They amplify, refine and embellish material facts by
giving distinctive touch to the basic contours of a
picture already drawn so as to make it full, more clear
and more informative. “Particulars” thus ensure conduct
of fair trial and would not take the opposite party by
surprise.
52. All ―material facts‖ must be pleaded by the party in
support of the case set up by him. Since the object and
purpose is to enable the opposite party to know the case he
has to meet with, in the absence of pleading, a party cannot
be allowed to lead evidence. Failure to state even a single
material fact, hence, will entail dismissal of the suit or
petition. Particulars, on the other hand, are the details of the
case which is in the nature of evidence a party would be
leading at the time of trial.‖
And again in paragraph 72, the Court noted thus:
―72. The Court, however, drew the distinction between ―material facts‖
and ―particulars‖. According to the Court, “material facts” are facts,
if established would give the petitioner the relief prayed for. The
test is whether the Court could have given a direct verdict in favour
of the election petitioner in case the returned candidate had not
appeared to oppose the election petition on the basis of the facts
pleaded in the petition.‖
(emphasis supplied)
24. In Ashraf Kokkur (supra), this Court adverted to the
exposition in M. Kamalam Vs. V.A. Syed Mohammed,
35 and G.M.

35
 (1978) 2 SCC 659
38
Siddeshwar Vs. Prasanna Kumar36 and in paragraph 21 noted
that the pleadings must be taken as a whole to ascertain whether
the same constitute the material facts involving triable issues. In
paragraph 22, the Court observed as follows:
―22. After all, the inquiry under Order 7 Rule 11(a) CPC is only as to
whether the facts as pleaded disclose a cause of action and not complete
cause of action. The limited inquiry is only to see whether the
petition should be thrown out at the threshold. In an election
petition, the requirement under Section 83 of the RP Act is to provide a
precise and concise statement of material facts. The expression
“material facts” plainly means facts pertaining to the subject-matter
and which are relied on by the election petitioner. If the party does
not prove those facts, he fails at the trial.‖
(emphasis supplied)
25. The Court then went on to analyse the decision of a threeJudge
Bench in the case of V.S. Achuthanandan Vs. P.J.
Francis37, wherein it has been observed that an election petition
was not liable to be dismissed in limine merely because full
particulars of corrupt practice alleged were not set out. Further,
material facts are such primary facts which must be proved at the
trial by a party to establish existence of a cause of action. It has
also observed that so long as the claim discloses some cause of
action or raises some questions fit to be decided by a Judge, the

36
 (2013) 4 SCC 776
37
 (1999) 3 SCC 737
39
mere fact that the case is weak and not likely to succeed is no
ground for striking it out. Further, the implications of the liability of
the pleadings to be struck out on the ground that it discloses no
reasonable cause of action are generally more known than clearly
understood and that the failure of the pleadings to disclose a
reasonable cause of action is distinct from the absence of full
particulars. This decision also adverts to the case of Ponnala
Lakshmaiah Vs. Kommuri Pratap Reddy,
38 wherein the Court
observed that the Courts need to be cautious in dealing with
request for dismissal of the petition at the threshold and exercise
their power of dismissal only in cases where on a plain reading of
the petition no cause of action is disclosed.
26. The counsel for the contesting respondent has relied on the
decisions in Pendyala Venkata Krishna Rao Vs. Pothula Rama
Rao (supra), particularly paragraphs 8-10, 11 and 16 of the
reported decision. In that case, on facts, the Court found that
necessary material facts in relation to the ground of improper
acceptance of nomination form were not pleaded by the election

38
 (2012) 7 SCC 788
40
petitioner. In the present case, we have held that there is
discernible pleading as to what objections were taken before the
Returning Officer and as to why he was in error in not rejecting the
nomination of respondent No.1.
27. The counsel for the contesting respondent also relied on the
decision in Samant N. Balkrishna Vs. George Fernandez39. No
doubt this decision predicates that election petition is a statutory
proceedings and not an action at law or suit in equity. There can be
no debate with regard to this proposition. At the same time, we
cannot be oblivious about the scope of the enquiry permissible at
this stage by the election court/tribunal while considering the
application under Order VII Rule 11(a) of C.P.C.
28. In Kuldeep Singh Pathania (supra), the decision of the High
Court which is similar to one under consideration (namely the
impugned judgment) had accepted the explanation offered by the
respondents and meticulously dealt with it to conclude that the
petition did not disclose any cause of action since it lacked material
facts. The High Court passed that order purportedly in exercise of

39
 (1969) 3 SCC 238
41
power under Order XIV Rule 2. This Court pointed out the
distinction between an order under Order VII Rule 11 to reject the
election petition in limine for non disclosure of cause of action and
an order under Order XIV Rule 2 for disposal of the petition on a
preliminary issue. In that case, the order passed by the High Court
was relatable only to Order VII Rule 11. This Court adverted to the
decisions in Mayar (H.K.) Ltd. and Ors. Vs. Owners and Parties
Vessel M.V. Fortune Express and Ors. 40 and Virendra Nath
Gautam Vs. Satpal Singh and Ors.,
41 and explicated that under
Order VII Rule 11(a), only the pleadings of the plaintiff-petitioner
can be looked at as a threshold issue. Whereas, entire pleadings of
both sides can be looked into for considering the preliminary issue
under Order XIV Rule 2. Neither the written statement nor the
averments or case pleaded by the opposite party can be taken into
account for answering the threshold issue for rejection of election
petition in terms of Order VII Rule 11 (a) of the Act.
29. Whether the material facts as asserted by the appellant can
stand the test of trial and whether the appellant would be able to

40
 (2006) 3 SCC 100
41
 (2007) 3 SCC 617
42
bring home the grounds for declaring the election of respondent
No.1 to be void, is not a matter to be debated at this stage. Suffice
it to observe that the averments in the concerned paragraphs of the
election petition, by no standard can be said to be frivolous and
vexatious as such. The High Court committed manifest error in
entering into the tenability of the facts and grounds urged in
support thereof by the appellant on merit, as is evident from the
cogitation in paragraphs 16 to 22 of the impugned judgment.
30. It is not necessary to multiply authorities on this point. The
High Court has opined that the contents of paragraphs 2 & 9 to 11
of the election petition did not furnish ―any‖ material facts but were
only in the nature of fulminating and lampooning order of the
Returning Officer for having unduly rejected the objections taken by
the appellant whilst accepting the nomination form submitted by
respondent No.1. The High Court broadly referred to the contents of
the concerned paragraphs of the election petition, but the analysis
of the High Court in that behalf is not correct. We have elaborately
adverted to the contents of paragraphs 2 & 9 to 11 of the election
petition. We find force in the argument of the appellant that the
43
said paragraphs plainly disclose the facts, which are material facts
for adjudicating the grounds for declaring the election of respondent
No.1 as being void, because of improper acceptance of his
nomination form by the Returning Officer (respondent No.8): To wit;
(i) The Returning Officer has improperly accepted the
nomination paper of the respondent No.1 despite the
categorical objections raised, being contrary to Rule 35 of
Civil Rules of Practice, Rule 4A of the Conduct of Election
Rules, 1961 and also contrary to the judgment of this Court
in Resurgence India (supra).
(ii) Respondent No.1 failed to sign each and every page of the
affidavit (Form No.26), which is in violation of Civil Rules of
Practice, Conduct of the Election Rules and Hand Book of
Returning Officer-2014 under Chapter 5.20.1.
(iii) Respondent No.1 failed to fill up the Column No.4 and
Column No.2 under the head of Total Income shown in
Income Tax Returns, of the said affidavit (Form No.26).
(iv) The Column No.6 of said two sets of affidavit has not been
properly struck off, whichever is not applicable. 
44
(v) Column No.8(B)(III), where the words stand for
―Approximate Current Market Price of…‖ at Part-B of 11
abstracts of the details given in (1) to (10) of Part A of the
said affidavits, which is mandatory as per Election Rules,
judgments of this Court and Circular and Instructions
issued by the Returning Officer.
(vi) Omission and blank Columns left in the said affidavits are
not at all a technical mistake. The respondent No.1 was
very much aware of the said rules and the law.
(vii) The Returning Officer did not follow the stated Rules and
law, and has favoured the respondent No.1 by accepting the
improper nomination/affidavit filed by him, enabling him to
contest the election, which is abuse of the processes of law
in light of the judgment of this Court (Resurgence India).
(viii) The Returning Officer (R-8) ought to have rejected the
improper nomination of the respondent no.1 on 21.04.2014
itself at the threshold as contemplated under Section
100(1)(d)(i) of the Representation of People Act.
(ix) The respondent No.1 misrepresented the Election
Commission as well as the Returning Officer (R-8) in a 
45
casual manner by giving false information at Para 7A of
details of Immovable Assets in his two set of affidavits
under Form-26 by showing the gross total value of
Rs.2,79,67,680 instead of 3,00,67,680 and deliberately did
not count the Column amount at 7(vii) of Rs.21,00,000/-.
(x) Form No.26 of two sets of nomination paper of Respondent
No.1 be read as Annexure-XIII for prosecution of the
election petition along with the grounds mentioned in the
petition. In the grounds at para 11 of the election petition,
the appellant has re-agitated these contentions.
31. Indubitably, the requirement of putting one‘s signature on
each and every page on the affidavit has been restated in the case of
Resurgence India (supra). It is held that when a candidate files an
affidavit with blank particulars it renders the affidavit itself
nugatory. Inasmuch as, the purpose of filing affidavit (form No.26)
along with nomination papers is to effectuate the fundamental right
of the citizens under Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution of India,
who are entitled to have the necessary information of the candidate
at the time of his filing of the nomination papers in order to make a 
46
choice of their voting. In Paragraphs 25 and 26 of this judgment,
the Court clarified that the observations made in paragraph 73 of
the judgment in People’s Union for Civil Liberties Vs. Union of
India,
42 will not come in the way of the Returning Officer to reject
the nomination paper if the said affidavit is filed with blank
columns. It further observed that the candidate must take the
minimum effort to explicitly remark as ―NIL‖ or ―Not Applicable‖ or
―Not Known‖ in the columns and not to leave the particulars blank,
if he desires that his nomination paper be accepted by the
Returning Officer during the scrutiny of nomination in exercise of
powers under Section 36 (6) of the 1951 Act being invalid
nomination found and hit by Section 125-A (i) of the 1951 Act. In
paragraph 27 of the judgment, the Court observed thus:
―27. If we accept the contention raised by the Union of India viz. the
candidate who has filed an affidavit with false information as well as the
candidate who has filed an affidavit with particulars left blank should be
treated on a par, it will result in breach of fundamental right guaranteed
under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution viz. ―right to know‖, which is
inclusive of freedom of speech and expression as interpreted in Assn. for
Democratic Reforms.‖

42 (2003) 4 SCC 399
47
The conclusions and directions articulated in paragraph 29 of the
decision, read thus:
“29. What emerges from the above discussion can be
summarized in the form of the following directions:
29.1. The voter has the elementary right to know full particulars of
a candidate who is to represent him in Parliament/Assemblies and
such right to get information is universally recognized. Thus, it is
held that right to know about the candidate is a natural right
flowing from the concept of democracy and is an integral part of
Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.
29.2. The ultimate purpose of filing of affidavit along with the
nomination paper is to effectuate the fundamental right of the
citizens under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India. The
citizens are supposed to have the necessary information at the
time of filing of nomination paper and for that purpose, the
Returning Officer can very well compel a candidate to furnish the
relevant information.
29.3. Filing of affidavit with blank particulars will render the
affidavit nugatory.
29.4. It is the duty of the Returning Officer to check whether
the information required is fully furnished at the time of filing
of affidavit with the nomination paper since such information
is very vital for giving effect to the “right to know” of the
citizens. If a candidate fails to fill the blanks even after the
reminder by the Returning Officer, the nomination paper is fit
to be rejected. We do comprehend that the power of the Returning
Officer to reject the nomination paper must be exercised very
sparingly but the bar should not be laid so high that the justice
itself is prejudiced.
29.5. We clarify to the extent that para 73 of People’s Union
for Civil Liberties case will not come in the way of the
Returning Officer to reject the nomination paper when the
affidavit is filed with blank particulars.
29.6. The candidate must take the minimum effort to
explicitly remark as “NIL” or “Not Applicable” or “Not known”
in the columns and not to leave the particulars blank.
48
29.7. Filing of affidavit with blanks will be directly hit by
Section 125-A(i) of the RP Act. However, as the nomination
paper itself is rejected by the Returning Officer, we find no
reason why the candidate must be again penalized for the
same act by prosecuting him/her.‖
(emphasis supplied)
32. The purport of assertions made in the election petition was to
highlight this aspect in support of the ground for declaring the
election of respondent No.1 as being void on account of improper
acceptance of his nomination form by the Returning Officer
(respondent No.8).
33. To put it differently, the approach of the High Court in
considering the two applications is, in our opinion, manifestly
erroneous, if not perverse. For, it has ventured into the arena of
analysis of the matter on merit. That is a prohibited area at this
stage. Since the conclusion reached by the High Court that the
pleadings in paragraphs 2 and 9 to 11 of the election petition are
frivolous and vexatious is untenable, it would necessarily follow
that the election petition, as filed, will have to be examined as a
whole without subtracting any portion therefrom. If so read, it is not
possible to take a view that the same does not disclose any cause of
49
action at all. On this finding, the application preferred by
respondent no.1 for rejection of election petition in limine under
Order VII Rule 11, cannot be countenanced and must also fail.
34. The only other plea of respondent No.1 that needs examination
is about the absence of averment in the election petition that
because of improper acceptance of nomination form of respondent
No.1, it has materially affected the election results of respondent
No.1. Even this contention should not detain us in light of the
exposition in the recent decision of this Court in M. Prithviraj
(supra). For, the case of Durai Muthuswami Vs. N. Nachiappan
and Ors.,
43 noticed in this judgment, it has been observed that in
the case of election to a single member constituency, if there are
more than 2 candidates and the nomination of one of the defeated
candidates had been improperly accepted, a question might arise as
to whether the result of the election of the returned candidate had
been materially affected by such improper reception. That would
not be so in the case of challenge to the election of the ―returned
candidate" himself on the ground of improper acceptance of his

43
 (1973) 2 SCC 45
50
nomination. In paragraph 23 of the judgment in M. Prithviraj
(supra), after analysing the exposition in Durai Muthuswami
(supra), the Court observed thus:
―23. It is clear from the above judgment in Durai
Muthuswami that there is a difference between the improper
acceptance of a nomination of a returned candidate and the
improper acceptance of nomination of any other candidate.
There is also a difference between cases where there are only
two candidates in the fray and a situation where there are
more than two candidates contesting the election. If the
nomination of a candidate other than the returned candidate
is found to have been improperly accepted, it is essential
that the election petitioner has to plead and prove that the
votes polled in favour of such candidate would have been
polled in his favour. On the other hand, if the improper
acceptance of nomination is of the returned candidate,
there is no necessity of proof that the election has been
materially affected as the returned candidate would not
have been able to contest the election if his nomination
was not accepted. It is not necessary for the respondent to
prove that result of the election insofar as it concerns the
returned candidate has been materially affected by the
improper acceptance of his nomination as there were only
two candidates contesting the election and if the appellant‘s
nomination is declared to have been improperly accepted, his
election would have to be set aside without any further
enquiry and the only candidate left in the fray is entitled to
be declared elected.‖
(emphasis supplied)
35. The Court then noted that the decision in Durai Muthuswami
(supra), has been followed in Jagjit Singh Vs. Dharam Pal Singh
51
and Ors. 44 . This Court then adverted to its earlier decision in
Vashist Narayan Sharma Vs. Dev Chandra & Ors.45, paragraph
9 thereof. That has been extracted in paragraph 25 of the judgment
in M. Prithviraj (supra).
36. In Duni Chand (supra), this Court was called upon to
consider whether the nomination paper submitted by the appellant
therein was improperly accepted by the Returning Officer. It
observed that if the Returning Officer had rejected the nomination
paper of the appellant therein at the time of scrutiny, the order of
rejection would have been valid. As a result, the appellant could
not have participated in the election process and there would have
been no occasion for him to be elected. It would therefore, follow
that improper acceptance of his nomination by the Returning
Officer has inevitably materially affected his result of the election.
37. The respondent No.1 on the other hand, has relied on the
decision in Mangani Lal Mandal (supra). In this case, the election
was challenged by invoking the ground under Section 100(1)(d)(iv)
and in that context the Court observed that it was essential for the

44
 (1995) Supple (1) SCC 422
45 (1955) 1 SCR 509 = AIR 1954 SC 513
52
election petitioner to plead material facts that the result of the
election in so far as it concerned the returned candidate has been
materially affected, by such observance or non-observance. In the
present case, the election is challenged by invoking ground of
improper acceptance of nomination of the respondent No.1 –
returned candidate under Section 100(1)(d)(i). Even the other case
i.e. Shambhu Prasad (supra), relied by respondent No.1 will be of
no avail. In that case, 22 candidates had filed their nomination
papers for election from the concerned constituency, out of which
only 17 candidates were left in the fray besides the election
petitioner, after withdrawal of nomination papers of 4 of such
candidates. The margin of victory between respondent No.1 and
Karuna Shukla, who emerged as his nearest rival, was more than
20,000 votes. The appellant in that case had polled 21,000 votes.
He filed an election petition before the High Court seeking a
declaration about his having been elected. Notably, the ground for
declaring the election to be void was not because of improper
acceptance of nomination form of the returned candidate per se but
because of improper acceptance of nomination papers of other
defeated candidates.
53
38. Our attention has also been invited by the learned counsel to
L.R. Shivaramagowda (supra), with particular emphasis on
paragraph 10 and 11, wherein the Court observed that in order to
declare an election to be void under Section 100(1)(d)(iv) it is
absolutely necessary for the election petitioner to plead that the
result of the election insofar as it concerns the returned candidate
has been materially affected. In the present case, the election
petition is in reference to the ground of improper acceptance of
nomination form of respondent No.1 – the returned candidate under
Section 100(1)(d)(i). Thus, if that plea is accepted and the election
of respondent No.1 is declared to be void, it would necessarily follow
that the election result of the returned candidate has been
materially affected.
39. The respondents had then contended that the election
petitioner cannot be permitted to bring or introduce a new ground
or cause of action beyond limitation period of 45 days of declaration
of the result of the election. We do not wish to dwell upon this
issue. In our opinion, this contention will have to be addressed by
the High Court in the first instance. The High Court, without
54
recording any reason has disposed of the applications filed by the
election petitioner (appellant) as the election petition itself was
dismissed in limine. Since the election petition will stand restored
before the High Court, to subserve the ends of justice, the
applications preferred by the election petitioner (appellant) will also
stand restored for being heard by the High Court on its own merit
and to decide it in accordance with law. As a result, it is not
necessary for us to dilate on the decision relied by the respondents
in the case of Harmohinder Singh (supra). We leave this
contention open to be decided by the High Court at the appropriate
stage.
40. Taking any view of the matter, therefore, the impugned
judgment of the High Court in allowing both the applications filed
by respondent no.1 cannot stand the test of judicial scrutiny. For,
we do not find any merit in the plea of the respondent No.1 that
paragraphs 2 & 9 to 11 of the election petition are frivolous and
vexatious, which contention erroneously commended to the High
Court. On the other hand, we are of the considered opinion that the
subject election petition plainly discloses cause of action for filing of
55
the election petition to declare the election of respondent No.1 to be
void on the ground of improper acceptance of his nomination.
41. We make it clear that we may not be understood to have
expressed any opinion on the merits of the other issues to be
decided by the High Court. In other words, our analysis is limited to
the threshold matter considered in this judgment about the striking
off of the pleadings and rejection of the election petition in limine.
42. In light of the above, we hold that E.A. No.329 of 2015 and EA
No.330 of 2015, both filed by respondent No.1 in the subject
election petition, deserve to be rejected. Further, the Election
Petition No.8 of 2014 shall stand restored to the file of the High
Court to its original number for being proceeded further in
accordance with law. Similarly, the applications filed by the
appellant shall stand restored (except the application for early
hearing), to their original numbers to be decided by the High Court
in accordance with law.
43. As regards the application for early hearing of the election
petition filed by the appellant before the High Court, the same be
treated as disposed of in terms of this order. The imperativeness of
56
expeditious disposal of the election petition is underscored in
Section 86(7) of the 1951 Act. As per the said provision, the trial of
the election petition is required to be disposed of preferably within
six months from the date of its presentation before the High Court.
Besides, this Court in the case of Mohd. Akbar (supra) has
highlighted the necessity of discharging the pious hope expressed
by the Parliament. Therefore, we may only request the High Court
to expeditiously dispose of the election petition preferably within
three months from the production of a copy of this judgment by
either party before it.
44. Accordingly, these appeals are allowed in the above terms with
no order as to costs.
.………………………….CJI.
 (Dipak Misra)
…..……………………..….J.
(A.M. Khanwilkar)
….……………………..….J.
New Delhi; (Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud)
March 21, 2018.

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