The Delhi High Court has agreed to hear a plea of a man whose nomination papers to contest the Lok Sabha elections as an independent candidate was rejected as he did not sign or fill a document.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Sidharth Mridul said it will Friday hear the plea seeking direction for the returning officer to allow the candidate to correct the defect in the nomination form by signing a document.
Ravinder Kumar, chairman of Human Rights Council of India, wanted to contest elections from the Delhi North East parliamentary constituency but his candidature was refused mainly on the ground that he failed to sign part 3 of the nomination paper which is regarding the political party, if any, under whose banner the candidate is contesting.
His plea, filed through advocate M.K.S. Menon, said that this had no relevance for him as he is an independent candidate and contesting the election without the support of any political party.
Seeking direction for the returning officer of the constituency concerned to allow him correct the defect in the nomination form by signing a document, the plea said that Kumar was not given any intimation sufficiently in advance so as to enable him to cure the defect.
The petition said that as per the handbook for the candidate provided by the Election Commission, if a returning officer rejects any nomination paper on any such unsubstantial or flimsy grounds, then that may be regarded as an improper rejection of nomination paper.
Only grounds on which nomination can be rejected is if the signature on the nomination paper is not genuine, it added.
The petition said that returning officer is either ignorant about these clauses or is manipulating things with "mala fide intention".
On March 21, Kumar submitted his nomination and immediately the returning officer intimated through the check list that certain columns are empty and have to be filled up. The defects were cleared immediately on the same day, the plea alleged.
On March 24 at 11 a.m., Kumar was informed that part III of the nomination regarding the party details are not filed up and it was not signed. He offered to sign right away but the returning officer said the nomination already stands rejected and defect can not be cured after the fixed time, his plea stated.
The officer was not inclined to accept the explanation given by Kumar that the page whether signed or not will not affect the candidature of him because he does not belong to any political party, the petition said.