The Bombay High Court recently imposed a fine of Rs. 25,000 on a person, namely, Mr. Shrikrishna Abdol, who had filed a writ petition alleging the suppression of expenditure incurred by Sanjay Dhotre, presently the Union Minister for State for department of IT and Telecommunication during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
The Petitioner, by means of an application, was seeking the disqualification of Sanjay Dhotre stating the ground that the election expenses had not been lodged within the prescribed time as provided under Sec. 10-A of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951.
His petition comprised of various contentions pertaining to a number of expenses allegedly incurred by Sanjay Dhotre. He also contended that several leaders of the Bhartiya Janata Party had campaigned for Dhotre, and the cost incurred by the party for advertising in different newspapers formed a great part of the complaint. The Election Commission of India had rejected the complaint and subsequently, a petition had been filed by him.
The Division Bench consisting of Justice RV Ghuge and Justice SM Modak dismissed this petition. They held that the petitioner had filed a writ petition under Sec. 110 A of the Representation of People’s Act which simply consisted of the legal formality of lodging the account of election expenses within the time and manner that was required in accordance with the Act, rather than filing an election petition under Sec. 81 of the Act.
The primary contention of the Respondents had been that the term of the 2014 elections had long expired and Sanjay Dhotre had returned as Member of the Parliament in 2019, therefore, considering the petition would serve no real purpose. Furthermore, it would only be an unnecessary waste of the Court’s precious time.
The Court observed that the expenses that had been lodged by Dhotre had been on 13th June, 2014 and the complaint had been filed by the petitioner on 20th April, 2015, even though the advocate for the Petitioner stated that the actual date was 20th March, 2015. Even so, since an election petition was barred, the Petitioner decided to use the provisions of Sec. 10-A, thereby wasting the time of the Court. Consequently, the Court imposed a fine of Rs. 25,000 on him, payable to the government Veterinary College and Hospital, Nagpur.
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Link to Judgement: Srikrishna Abdol v. Election Commission of India