Rashid Paul

HC quashes order of recounting in DDC polls from Larnoo-8

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Breather for PDP candidate…

Srinagar: The High Court today quashed a 2020 order of recounting in the District Development Council (DDC) polls from Larnoo-8 constituency in south Kashmir which had resulted in the loss of a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate.

Khalid Bibi, of PDP had previously been declared winner by securing seven votes more than her nearest rival Sajida Begum, an independent.

However, after being administered oath, the defeated candidate approached the appellate authority, who ordered the District Panchayat Election Officer to recount the votes.

Independent candidate Sajida Begum, who had previously lost by seven votes, was declared winner by 61 votes after recounting.

Interestingly the court had restrained Begum and Bibi from holding the office after hearing the aggrieved candidate Bibi through senior counsel Z A Shah.

The court today disposed off the matter quashing the orders of recounting and ordered the Appellate Authority to reconsider the appeal of Khalida of PDP afresh.

“Revisit the issues/questions raised therein and decide the matter in accordance with law and rules occupying the field, providing a reasonable opportunity of hearing to the parties,” directed a division bench comprising justices Javaid Iqbal and Sanjay Dhar.

“The Appellate Authority while passing the basic impugned order dated 02.02.2021 upon the appeal of the respondent Sajida has in essence failed to decide the appeal on merits,” said the bench.

It said the questions and/issues raised therein appropriately, more so, in the absence of the petitioner Khalida, as such, in the peculiar facts and circumstance of the case, this court refrains from undertaking any exercise in deciding the said question/issues in the instant petition.

It may prejudice the right of the parties and we instead deem it appropriate to remand the case back to the Appellate Authority for reconsideration of the appeal after affording a reasonable opportunity of hearing to the parties, they directed.

The petitioner Khalida had contended that the entire process undertaken beginning from the filing of the application, (appeal) by the respondent Sajida before the Appellate Authority till the issuance of certificate of the election after recounting of votes is “illegal, unconstitutional and contrary to the provisions of the Act of 1989 and the Rule of 1996.”

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