Rashid Paul

J&K HC asks officials to file counter affidavits

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Recounting of votes for Larnoo DDC constituency

Srinagar: J&K High Court has issued notice to Additional Commissioner Kashmir and other senior officers and asked them to file counter affidavit in a petition challenging the orders of recounting of votes and results for the Larnoo DDC constituency in Anantnag.

The DDC election for 08-Larnoo was conducted in Phase-1 on 28th November 2020 and Khalida Bibi of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was declared winner by a margin of seven votes.

Bibi had defeated her nearest rival Sajida Begum, an independent candidate in the election for which result was declared on 22nd of December.

Sajida Begum, the loser candidate preferred an appeal before the Additional Commissioner Kashmir, who directed recounting of votes in the constituency.

After recounting, Sajida Begum (independent), who had previously lost by seven votes, was declared winner by 61 votes against Khalida Bibi, PDP’s earlier winner.

Bibi challenged the orders for recounting and the subsequent results in favor of the independent Begum passed by Additional Commissioner Kashmir and other senior officers.

She pleaded through her lawyer Zafar A Shah that the order dated 02.02.2021 passed by the Additional Commissioner Kashmir has been made without hearing her.

“This act is in violation of the principles of natural justice and as such the recounting of votes in pursuance to the aforesaid order and the result of election declared on the said basis is illegal,” Shah pleaded before the High Court.

He further contended that the respondent authorities have without revoking the certificate of election of the petitioner, declared Sajida Begum (the respondent) as successful candidate.

This has created a situation where both the petitioner and the respondent councilor are holding valid certificates of election, he said.

The petitioner said that the election of Sajida Begum is a “fraud” (pursuant to recounting of votes) on the ground that even after the recounting of votes, there is discrepancy in the number of votes polled and the number of votes counted.

Hearing the petition Justice Sanjay Dhar observed “it appears that important questions of law have arisen in the writ petition for consideration of this court”.

He directed “issue notice to the respondents for filing counter affidavit by or before next date” directing further “requisite steps for service upon the respondents be taken within one week”.

He also directed that both the women be restrained from holding the office of member of District Development Council, Anantnag.

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