In a recent judgment, the Supreme Court, held that the High Court of Calcutta was in error in issuing directions for the acceptance of nomination in electronic form.
The said ruling was delivered in the matter of West Bengal State Election Commission vs. Communist Party of India, Civil Appeal No. 8515 of 2018 decided on 24.08.2018.
An appeal filed against the decision of the Calcutta High Court in various public interest litigation wherein the Appellant, who wished to contest the panchayat elections was not being allowed to collect and submit their nomination forms as a result of the violent actions of the supporters of the ruling party in the State. The Appellant was pressing that the State Election Commission must accept the nominations already filed in electronic form or e-mail.
The Apex Court held that provisions and Rules constituted under the Panchayat Elections Act 1973 provide a complete code in regard to the conduct of election, including the matter of filing of nominations. That neither the Panchayat Elections Act nor the Rules contemplate the filing of nomination in the electronic form and in order to enable such a provision, a legislative amendment has to be carried out. The Court also pointed out that the election process had already been initiated and the last date of filing of nomination was over. Therefore, it was held that the directions issued by the High Court in the impugned order were in teeth of the settled principle of self-restraint which governs the exercise of jurisdiction under Article 226 once the election process commences.