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The High Court may allow an election petitioner to file a replication against the written submissions of a returned candidate, according to the Supreme Court’s explanation of the law on the subject. However, the replication must not include any new information that would contradict the facts that were included in the election petition in the first place.

In light of the analysis above, we are of the view that by virtue of the provisions of Section 87 (1) of the Representations of Peoples Act,1951, the High Court, acting as an Election Tribunal, subject to the provisions of the 1951 Act and the rules made thereunder, is vested with all such powers as are vested in a civil court under the CPC. Therefore, in exercise of its powers under Order VIII Rule 9 of the CPC, it is empowered to grant leave to an election petitioner to file a replication. The bench, which included Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra in addition to Chief Justice of India Dr. DY Chandrachud, stated

In this case, the High Court granted the election petitioner’s replication, which was submitted in response to the written statement of the returned candidate.

The election petitioner responded with a replication, and the returned candidate attempted to explain in his written statement why bank account information was purportedly withheld from the petition.

Referencing section 81 (1) of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951, which sets a 45-day deadline for filing an election petition, the appellant/returned candidate argued that the High Court erred in allowing the replication submitted by the election petitioner. The appellant also contended that the election petitioner was barred from introducing any new facts or allegations through a replication following the 45-day statute of limitations.

However, in line with Section 81(1) of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951, the respondent/election petitioner contended that the High Court serves as an election tribunal and is empowered by the Civil Procedure Code to grant authority to the civil courts. He argued that CPC Order VIII Rule 97 allows for the rebuttal of the written statement.

Furthermore, in response to the appellant’s accusations that new facts were introduced through replication, the respondent said that since the replication’s sole goal is to refute the written statement’s explanation, no new facts have been introduced.

In his ruling, Judge Manoj Misra acknowledged the merits of the respondent’s argument and stated that the replication was intended to provide clarification on the allegations made in the written statement, not new material that went beyond the main argument.

“It is clear from above that the non-disclosure of bank accounts, alleged in the election petition, was sought to be explained by the returned candidate in his written statement. The replication only sought to meet that explanation. Similarly, the reply in the written statement in respect of other material facts pleaded in the election petition was sought to be dealt with, by way of explanation, in the replication. The replication does not seek to incorporate any new material facts or a new cause of action to question the election. It only seeks to explain the averments made in the written statement. Thus, in our view, leave to file replication was justified and well within the discretionary jurisdiction of the High Court.”, the court stated.

According to the previously stated premise, the court dismissed the appeal due to its lack of merit.

Counsels For Petitioner(s) Mr. Shyam Divan, Sr. Adv. Mr. Rakesh Kumar, AOR 

Counsels For Respondent(s) Mr. Anupam Lal Das, Sr. Adv. Mr. David Ahongsangbam, Adv. Mr. S Gunabanta Meitei, Adv. Mr. B R Sharma, Adv. Mr. Raj Singh, Adv. Mr. Mohan Singh, Adv. Mr. Sanajaoba Pheiroijam, Adv. Ms. Rajkumari Banju, AOR


Name:Gurleen kaur, Bba llb (6th sem), st. soldier law college, intern under legal vidhiya.

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