The Bombay High Court has observed that although the State Cooperative Election Authority has the authority to revise the cut-off date for elections, it must adhere to the procedure laid down by the law. It was also emphasized that the decision of the SCEA must be scrutinized depending on the facts and circumstances of each case, and a strait jacket formula cannot be applied to each case.

In that context, the Bench of Justice Ravindra V Ghuge and Justice YG Khobragade observed that, "the SCEA may re-fix the cut-off date, this can be done only by following the due procedure laid down in law and for sound reasons which would justify such a step. Such action will have to be scrutinized depending on the facts and circumstances in each case and there cannot be a ‘cut and dried’ strait jacket formula to be applied mechanically in every case."

Senior Counsel VD Hon, along with others, appeared for the petitioners, while AGP SK Tambe, along with others, appeared for the respondents.

In this case, the Cooperative Sugar Factory sought the publication of election programs and a stay on the orders passed by the State Cooperative Election Authority.

The petitioners argued that the elections for the Cooperative Sugar Factory, due by 30.05.2022, were not conducted even after the term ended. They highlighted a change in the cut-off date for finalizing the voters list from 01.02.2023 to 01.10.2023, causing concerns about fairness.

The petitioners contested the need for a new cut-off date and emphasized their adherence to the earlier prescribed date. The State Cooperative Election Authority defended the decision, citing the pandemic, a new cut-off date under the amended Act, and the authority's power of review.

The High Court observed that, "In the instant cases, the impugned order does not reflect any such reasons or circumstances, which would justify re-fixing of the cut-off date."

In light of the same, the petitions were allowed. The SCEA was directed to proceed to declare the election program from the stage at which it was postponed.


Petitioners: Senior Counsel VD Hon, Counsel KJ Suryawanshi, NB Khandare, AG Choudhari

Respondents: AGP SK Tambe, Counsel SK Kadam, Counsel BB Bhise

Cause Title: Siddheshwar Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana Ltd. vs The State of Maharashtra & Ors.

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