'Fraud & justice cannot co-exist', says HC while ordering disqualification of woman, who won Panchayat Samiti polls despite being banned for 5 years

Narsi BenwalUpdated: Thursday, March 24, 2022, 11:01 PM IST
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Bombay HC | Photo: Representative Image

MUMBAI: Observing that "fraud and justice cannot exist together" the Bombay High Court recently disqualified a woman, who got elected "fraudulently" despite being "banned" from contesting elections for five years.

A bench of Justices Shahrukh Kathawalla and Milind Jadhav was hearing a plea filed by one Tanaji Palave, who challenged the election of Nagarabai Jayvant Palave from a ward in Mandave village, Taluka Malshiras in Solapur district during the general Village Panchayat elections held last year.

According to Tanaji, in the previous term of the Panchayat Samiti, Nagarabai was banned from contesting elections for five years as she failed to submit the poll expenses in time before the relevant authorities. However, the Collector in his orders committed an error in mentioning Nagarabai's name.

The Collector by mistake wrote her name as Nagarabai Tanaji Palave while her actual name is Nagarabai Jayvant Palave.

Taking undue advantage of this error, Nagarabai contested the polls held last year and even won a seat. When Tanaji highlighted the issue before the Collector and other authorities, they went by the order copy which mentioned her name as Nagarabai Tanaji Palave and accordingly didn't act on his complaint.

Taking note of the "disquieting facts" of the case, the judges stated that the same has "dismayed them."

Referring to a verdict of the Supreme Court on a similar issue, the bench said, "Fraud and justice cannot co-exist. They do not dwell together."

"What is equally shocking is the fact that despite ample material on record, the Collector has turned a blind eye to the same; that it is his duty, being a statutory officer hearing an election Dispute Application under the law to investigate and unearth the fraud on the basis of material placed on record," the bench said.

Further, the judges added, "In the present case, the fundamental fact is that no person by the name of Nagarabai Tanaji Palave has appeared before the Collector while conducting his enquiry and hearing the Dispute Application; infact no person by the name of Nagarabai Tanaji Palave could have appeared as no such person exists."

Accordingly, the bench ordered disqualification of Nagarabai.

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