New Delhi: No remedy of appeal lies against an order of a state election commission or its delegatee, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday.
A bench of justices A M Khanwilkar and C T Ravikumar made the observation while setting aside an order of the Maharashtra High Court which had affirmed a divisional commissioner’s order disqualifying two elected individuals — a sarpanch and a village panchayat member — in the state’s Dhile district.
The divisional commissioner had disqualified them for not submitting election expenses within the stipulated time. The sarpanch and the panchayat member are from the same village.
We conclude that no remedy of appeal is envisaged against an order of the state election commission or its delegatee the collector, under Section 14B(1), rejecting the complaint or to drop the proceedings for declaration of a sarpanch/member having incurred disqualification,” the bench said.
That order becomes final and if passed by the collector as the delegatee, is deemed to have been passed by the state election commission itself, it said.
The top court said even the state election commission cannot step in thereafter in any manner much less in the guise of reconsideration or review of such order.
It said that the divisional commissioner would have no jurisdiction to entertain assail to such an order of the collector.
The fact that the high court ventured into the terrain of dealing with merits of the case, does not require us to examine that question. For, once it is held that the divisional commissioner had no jurisdiction to entertain the appeal against the order of the collector no other issue needed examination by the high court at his instance, the bench said.
In this case, the two individuals contested elections held in September 2018 for electing a new panchayat and emerged successful.
Two dispute applications were filed seeking declaration under Section 14B(1) that the elected candidates stood disqualified for not submitting the election expenses within the stipulated time.
The collector, after considering the relevant material and the submissions of the rival parties, rejected both the dispute applications.
An appeal was filed against the decision of the collector before the divisional commissioner, Nasik region, questioning the correctness of the rejection of dispute applications by the collector.
The divisional commissioner allowed the appeals and declared the candidates as disqualified and ineligible to remain as gram panchayat sarpanch and member.