A Division Bench of the Nagpur High Court has dismissed a review petition against the dismissal of a writ petition filed seeking disqualification of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah under the Representation of People Act, 1951.

A Bench of Justice Sunil B. Shukre and Justice Anil S. Kilor had dismissed a writ petition filed by Advocate Ram Khobragade seeking the said relief in August, 2021. The Bench had then imposed a cost of Rs.1000/- on the Petitioner who appeared in person.

The writ petition had sought a declaration that PM Modi is guilty of corrupt practices under Sections 123(3), (3-A), (7) and 125 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and that Amit Shah is disqualified under Section 123(3) and 123(3-A) of the said Act. The Petitioner also sought a direction to the Election Commission of India to publish all the dissenting notes of Ashok Lawasa, the then Election Commissioner.

The Bench had dismissed the petition as not maintainable "inasmuch as it has been filed in ignorance of the provisions made in Section 80 read with Section 81 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and also the provisions made in Article 102 of the Constitution of India". The Court had held that Petitioner ought to have pursued the remedies, as are provided statutorily and instead of doing that the petitioner has approached the High Court.

In the review petition, the Petitioner contended that the petition filed by him is not an election petition and it is a petition which seeks to declare disqualification of the duo on the ground of indulging in corrupt practice and is also a petition which seeks to move the Election Commission of India for taking appropriate action against them, in particular the action relating to proving the honesty and integrity of the orders passed by the Election Commission of India with respect of them.

The Court in its June 10 order has held that the appropriate remedy for Petitioner would be the one as provided under Section 80 of the Act. "In fact, indulging in corrupt practice is one of the grounds available for an aggrieved person for seeking declaration of the election to be void under Section 100 of the said Act", the Court held.

"A writ petition is not an election petition and, therefore, the power of declaring a returned candidate to be disqualified cannot be exercised by this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. Even otherwise, whether a person has indulged in corrupt practice is a matter of evidence and unless the evidence is brought on record, and that too in accordance with the procedure prescribed by law, nothing can be done by this Court in exercise of its writ jurisdiction", the Court held.

The Court rejected the contentions of the Petitioner that he was not given any hearing and that some 'satirical' remarks have been passed by the Court while dismissing the writ petition.

The Bench dismissed the review petition with a cost of Rs.500/- which is to be deposited in the account of the High Court Legal Services Sub-Committee, Nagpur, within a period of four weeks from the date of the order.

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