The Supreme Court has rejected a petition challenging the General Lok Sabha Election-2019 Election of Wayanad Constituency, which is currently held by Rahul Gandhi.

The petitioner, Saritha S Nair approached the Supreme Court after her Election Petition was dismissed by the Kerala High Court. Her nomination papers were rejected by the Returning Officer under Sec.8(3) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 on the ground that she was disqualified on account of multiple convictions by the Trial Court. However, her nomination in the Amethi Constituency in the State of Uttar Pradesh was accepted by the concerned Returning Officer in spite of the conviction in multiple cases.

A Bench comprising Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Dipankar Datta said that "Having heard learned counsel for the petitioner on merits, we see no reason to interfere with the impugned order. The special leave petition is, accordingly, dismissed".

The High Court declined to interfere on the ground that only the sentences were suspended by respective appellate/Revisional courts and not the conviction suffered by the petitioner was suspended in the appeal proceedings. Also, the Apex Court has held that period of disqualification commences from the date of conviction, whether or not the person has been taken into custody to undergo the sentence imposed.

"[I]t could be clearly made out that the petitioner was disqualified in contesting the election Election Petition Nos.3 and 4 of 2019 26 from Wayanad Parliamentary constituency as well as the Ernakulam Parliamentary constituency, in accordance with Article 102 of the Constitution of India, dealing with disqualifications for membership. Clause 1(e) of Article 102 of the Constitution. It is convincing and clear that the rejection of nominations by the respective Returning Officers are in accordance with law", held the Kerala High Court.

"(The) petitioner has not filed the election petition in accordance with the mandatory requirements of law and is filed in a casual manner without even attesting many of the Annexures, and without properly marking the same", said the High Court.

Sec.8(3) of Act, 1951 dealing with disqualification on conviction for certain offences is relevant to the context, which read thus: "(3) A person convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than two years (other than any offence referred to in sub- section (1) or sub-section (2)) shall be disqualified from the date of such conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years since his release."

Earlier, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition on the ground of non-prosecution.

Cause Title- Saritha S Nair v. Rahul Gandhi

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