A single bench of the Manipur High Court on Monday heard the election filed against minister Th Biswajit and two others, challenging Biswajit’s election as a member of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly, citing failure to disclose vital information in the minister’s affidavit.
The HC directed the registry to serve notice on the minister, JDU candidate Sanglakpam Preshyojit Sharma and returning officer of Thongju assembly constituency returnable within three weeks.
The petition was filed by Biswajit’s rival Seram Neken who contested as the candidate of the Indian National Congress.
The petitioner stated that the election of Biswajit, on the ground of “improper acceptance” of his nomination by the returning officer of 5-Thongju assembly constituency in as much as a minister, has failed to file a proper affidavit as he failed to mention the proper full address and disclose the pending criminal/FIR case in column No 5 of the affidavit (Form No. 26) dated February 5, 2022, accompanying his nomination.
The petitioner sought the High Court to declare that the election of minister Biswajit as member to the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly Election, 2022 as void. The petitioner also prayed for declaring him as duly elected as member of Manipur Legislative Assembly from 5-Thongju assembly constituency in the 12th Manipur Assembly Election.
According to the petitioner, minister Biswajit had not published the criminal cases in any form of local and National newspaper/TV channels against the notification issued by the chief electoral officer, Manipur January 19, 2022.
He further alleged the minister of violating the judgment of the Supreme Court in WP (Civil) No 536 of 2011 (Public Interest Foundation & Ors Vs. Union of India & Anr) passed on September 25, 2018.
Moreover, the minister himself also did not disclose by way of publication the criminal cases as mentioned in Column 6A of the Affidavit (Form 26) dated 5/2/2022 accompanying the nomination, the petitioner stated.
The petitioner further stated that candidate Preshyojit was placed in a third-place according to the final result sheet of the 12th Manipur Legislative assembly. He, therefore, cannot be declared as a returned candidate from the Thongju assembly constituency, as there is no such precedent to declare the third-place candidate as a returned candidate, he stated.
If the returning officer had not accepted the nomination of Biswajit, the petitioner would have been declared as the returned candidate, he mentioned.
The retiring officer improperly accepted the nomination of Biswajit in as much as he had suppressed or concealed the material facts in his Affidavit under Form 26 as he failed to disclose the Criminal Cases being Cril. (Complaint) D.V. Case No. 5 of 2021 is now pending before JMFC, Imphal West-II; Cril.(C) Case No.38 of 2021 now pending before Special Judge (MPs/MLAs) No.1, Manipur and Cril.(C) Case No. 2 of 2022 now pending before Special Court for MLAs/MPs No. 2, he stated.
Biswajit had also failed to mention the name of the state ‘Manipur’ while filing up the full address in both the Part-A and Part-B, Column No. 11(2) of the Affidavit under Form No. 26 accompanying nomination, according to the petition.
His complete address should include the state where he resides; however, in his affidavit he failed to mention the name of the state, the petitioner further stated. He has suppressed the material facts in his affidavit (Form No. 26) dated February 5, 2022 which are required under the law, the petitioner added. The court has fixed May 16 for the next hearing.