The Madhya Pradesh High Court, Indore Bench recently observed that an election petition decided without framing any issues and without following the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 as given under Rule 11 of the M.P. Panchayats (Election Petitions, Corrupt Practices and Disqualification for Membership) Rules, 1995 then the same would not be in accordance with law and would thus violate principles of natural justice.

Holding that, a bench of Justice Subodh Abhyankar set aside the impugned order and while remanding the matter back to the Election Tribunal observed, “…on perusal of the impugned order it is apparent that the issues have not been framed. In such circumstances, it cannot be said that the election petition has been decided in accordance with law, as it clearly violates the principles of natural justice as the framing of issue is also an important aspect of the case, on the basis of which only the evidence is led by the parties and appreciated by the Trial Court”.

Advocate Jayesh Gurnani appeared for the petitioner and G.A. Vaibhav Bhagwat appeared for the respondents.

In the present matter, the petition was filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India against the order dated May 9, 2023, passed by respondent No.2, Sub-Divisional Officer whereby, the election petition filed by the petitioner under Section 122 of The Madhya Pradesh Panchayat Raj Avam Gram Swaraj Adhiniyam, 1993 against the election of Respondent no.3, on the post of Sarpanch of Gram Panchayat Khokhar Khandan, Jhabua, was rejected.

While drawing court’s attention to the proceedings of the Election Tribunal wherein, the issues have not been framed, it was contended by the petitioner that the petition has been decided without framing any issues and thus, it is submitted that the provisions as prescribed under the M.P. Panchayats (Election Petitions, Corrupt Practices and Disqualification for Membership) Rules, 1995 have not been followed, Rule 11 of which clearly provides that the election petition shall be governed by the provisions of CPC.

It is to be noted that the same contention was not even disputed by the respondents, however, it is was argued that the objection was never raised in the proceedings. Further submitted that the petitioner was given as many as ten opportunities to lead evidence.

Accordingly, while setting aside the impugned order the bench disposed of the matter.

Cause Title: Ramesh Bhabor v. The State of Madhya Pradesh & Ors.

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