Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Dinesh Maheshwari, CJ, S. Sujatha, J., dismissed writ petitions filed against the order of the respondent authorities, whereby the respondent authorities declared bye-elections to be held for some constituencies which fell vacant.

The main issue that arose before the Court was whether the respondent authorities were justified in ordering the bye-elections to be held and whether the said order was in consonance with Section 151 A of the Representation of People Act, 1951.

The Court observed that the true intention behind Section 151 A was that notwithstanding anything contained in Section 147, 149, 150 and 151 of the RP Act, bye-election for filling any vacancy referred to in the said sections should be held within 6 months from the date of occurrence of the vacancy, but it is provided that in two eventualities, the provisions of Section 151 A would not apply viz. (a) when the remainder of the term of a member in relation to the vacancy is less than one year and (b) when the Election Commission in consultation with the Central Government certifies that it is difficult to hold the bye-election within that period. The period of one year as discussed in the provision refers to the remaining term from the date of occurrence of vacancy which ought not to be less than a year. In the instant case the vacancies had arisen on 18-05-2018 and 21-05-2018 and if the elections are not allowed to be held in relation to these vacancies then these constituencies will remain unrepresented for a period of more than a year, till the next general elections.

The Court held that the respondent authorities had not committed any error in passing the order for holding bye-elections for the vacant constituencies. Further, the Court also held that if there arises an ambiguity with regard to interpretation of Section 151 A of the RP Act, then recourse to the report of a Committee on Electoral Reforms, 1990 must be taken since Section 151A was introduced on the basis of this committee report. [AP Ranganatha v. Chief Election Commission, WP No. 46107 of 2018, order dated 29-10-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Siddhartha Varma, J., allowed a writ petition which was in respect to Section 82 of the U.P. Revenue Code, 2006.

Facts of the case are that petitioner’s agricultural land was declared as non-agricultural. Aggrieved by the same, petitioner filed an application under Section 82 of the Code for cancellation of the above declaration. The aforementioned application was dismissed stating that by canceling the declaration, petitioner was trying to save stamp duty. Later, a revision petition filed by petitioner on the dismissal of above application was also dismissed and for the same, this writ petition was filed.

It was submitted by the petitioner that in accordance with Khasras in the revenue records for the land, agricultural work was going on and prayed for the withdrawal of declaration. It was found on a spot inspection conducted by Revenue Inspector that the plot was vacant and no agricultural work was being done. While responding to the above inspection data, petitioner contended that just because a plot is vacant does not necessarily imply that it is being used for other purposes than agricultural. Whereas the respondent alleged that petitioner was trying to sell the plot and save stamp duty by declaring it as an agricultural land.

The High Court after hearing both the parties quashed the order passed by Additional Commissioner and Sub-divisional Magistrate, Sadar stating that just because a land is vacant, it cannot be concluded that it can never be used for agricultural purposes unless a building is constructed to stop the agricultural scope of the plot. [Sunita Agarwal v. State of U.P., 2018 SCC OnLine All 1326, order dated 11-09-2018]