Application To Include Newly Elected Members To Voter List Shall Be Made Prior To Five Working Days Before Date Of Last Nomination- Bombay HC
The Bombay High Court recently held that the newly elected members can be included in the final voters list, however, the application for inclusion of the newly elected members should be prior to 5 working days before the last date of nomination.
The Bench of Justice Arun R. Pednekar observed that the legislature has amended and included Rule 7(5) in the Election Rules 2017 wherein it is provided that the newly elected members of the societies, and the village panchayats, after the publication of the final voters list can also apply for membership, however, the application has to be before 5 working days of the last day of filing nomination to the election of the concerned APMC. This cut-off is necessary to give finality to the voters list, added the Court.
Advocate Suryawanshi Kamlakar appeared for Petitioner and Advocate S. K. Kadam appeared for Respondents.
In a nutshell, the petitioners had taken exception to the orders passed by second respondent – The District Election Officer, APMC and District Deputy Registrar, Co-operative Societies, Aurangabad, rejecting the application filed by the petitioners under Rule 7(5) of the Maharashtra Agricultural Produce Market Committee (Election to Committee) Rules, 2017 and not including the names of the petitioners in the final voters list of the APMC Gangapur, Taluka – Gangapur, District – Aurangabad.
After considering the submissions, the High Court found from a bare reading of rule 7(5) of the Election Rules 2017, that newly elected committee members of the societies and village panchayats whose names are not entered in the final voters list as published under the subrule 3 of rule 7 may at any time but not later than 5 working days of the last date of making nominations apply to the District Election Officer and the District Election Officer or the person authorized by him shall conduct inquiry and after inquiry may make necessary changes in the final voters list. Rule 7(5) is added for the inclusion of the newly elected members whose names are not in the final voters list.
However, there is a specific bar created that the application by the newly elected member for inclusion in the voters list should not be later than 5 working days before the last date of making the nominations, added the court.
The Court observed that a provisional voters list is prepared based on a cut-off date specified by the election authority or based on information as may be made available of the voters, before 180 days of the expiry of the term of the market committee.
However, the legislature has inserted Rule 7(5) of the Election Rules 2017 to overcome the problem of newly elected committee members being left out of the final voters list, added the Court.
Further, while observing that sanctity has to be given to the time provided for making application under Rule 7(5) and the last date for application as prescribed in Rule 7(5) of the Election Rules 2017 has to be strictly followed, the High Court clarified that in absence of applying the time stipulated for making application under Rule 7(5) of the Election Rules 2017, there would be no finality to the voters list.
The High Court therefore dismissed the petition and elucidated that a balance is struck between the right of the newly elected committee members of the societies and the village panchayats to be included in the final voters list and giving finality to the voters list before the last date of nominations, taking into consideration, the time that may be required to process the applications of the newly elected members of the societies and the village panchayats.
Cause Title: Raosaheb Rustum Autade and Ors. v. The State Co-operative Election Authority Maharashtra State Pune and Ors.