Rabali Singh & Ors Vs. Shayamlal
& Ors  INSC 95 (29 March 1972)
CITATION: 1973 AIR 276 1973 SCR (1) 59 1973
SCC (3) 715
Madhya Pradesh Municipalities Act 1961-Rule
13 made thereunder-Nomination form to be filed in form IV-Candidates gave only
the number of the 'ward' but failed to give the name of the 'ward'-If fatal to
According to Rule 13 framed under Madhya
Pradesh Municipalities Act, 1961, a candidate for election to the Municipal
Council shall deliver to the supervising officer a nomination paper completed
in Form IV and the relevant column in Form IV required the candidate to mention
the "name and number of the Ward". Further, sub-rule (IV) of Rule 13
provided that the 'supervising officers shall not reject any nomination paper
on the ground of any defect which is not of substantial character High Court in
a writ petition set aside the elections of 6 persons to the 'Municipal Council
on the ground that they only mentioned the question whether the number of the
wards but not their names. On non-mentioning the names of the wards in the
nomination paper was a defect of a substantial character,
HELD .: The nomination papers of the returned
candidates were rightly accepted by the Returning Officer as they substantially
complied with the Rule. The particulars in question were required to identify
the constituency in which a candidate was desirous of seeking election. That
purpose was served when either the number and the ward, or its name was given
unless them were, more than on a ward having the same name the identification
of the constituency was complete. The name of the ward .was merely an
additional piece of evidence to identify the constitute Once the number of the ward
was mentioned there was no difficulty for the Returning Officer to find out in
which constituency tin candidates wanted to seek election. [61D] Rangila
Chowdhury v. Dultu Sen & Ors.  2 S.C.R. 401 and Rain Awadesh Singh v.
Smt. Sumitra Devi & Ors., A.I.R..
1972 S.C. 580, referred to.
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal
No. 889 of 1971.
Appeal from the order dated December 9, 1970
of the Madhya Pradesh High Court in Miscellaneous Petition No. 267 of 1969.
L. S. Baghel, Pramod Swarup and S. S. Khanduja,
for the appellants.
R. Paniwani and S. K. Gambhir, for respondent
R. P. Kapur, for respondents Nos. 2 and 3.
The Judgment of U Court was delivered IV
Hegde, J.-This is an appeal by certificate. It relates to the .elections to
Municipal Council, Sidhi. The elections were held 60 in 1969. In that election
six persons ie. four appellants and respondents 5 and 6 in this appeal were
Thereafter the first respondent herein an
elector and apparently a busy body filed a petition under Article 226, of 'the
Constitution in the High Court of Madhya Pradesh challenging the validity of
the election of all the returned candidates on several grounds. The High Court
accepted that petition and set aside the election of all the returned
candidates. The only ground on which the election of the returned candidates
was set aside is that the returned candidates in their nomination papers had
merely mentioned the number of the wards for which they were candidates but had
failed to mention the names of those wards. It is not the case of the election
petitioner nor is it the-finding of the High Court that there was any
difficulty in identifying the ward in which the concerned returned candidate
wanted to seek election. The Returning Officer did not find any such
difficulty. He accepted their nomination papers.
Admittedly every ward had a specific number
in addition to having a name.
The High Court was of the opinion that the
successful candidates failure to, mention the name of the wards in their
nomination papers was fatal and therefore the Returning Officer was not
competent to accept their nomination. It thought that it was mandatory for all
the, candidates to mention in their nomination papers the names of the wards in
which they wanted to seek election. Further it opined that a mere mentioning of
the number of the ward may lead to clerical errors and therefore the rule
making authority had prescribed that the name of the ward also should be
mentioned in the nomination paper. It is nobody's case that in the nomination
papers with which we are concerned there are any errors as regard the ward
Let us now examine whether the High Court was
justified in taking such a technical view of the matter. The election to the
municipal councils is regulated by Rule 13 of the Rules framed under the Madhya
Pradesh Municipalities Act, 1961.
Rule 13 (1) reads "13(1)(i). On or
before the date fixed for filing nomination paper of candidates each candidate
shall, either in person or by his proposer or seconder, between the hours of 11
O'clock in the forenoon and 3 O'clock in the afternoon, deliver to the
supervising officer a nomination paper completed in For IV. and subscribed by
the candidate himself as assenting to the nomination and by two duly qualified
voters of the ward as proposer and seconder.
61 The relevant column in Forma IV reads
"Name and number of the ward". Going back to Rule 13 it is necessary
to notice sub-rule (vi) of that rule which says.:
"The supervising officer shall not
reject any nomination paper on the ground of any defect which is not a
substantial character." The question for decision is whether the
non-mentioning of the names of the wards in the nomination papers is a defect
of a substantial character ? For deciding that question we must first find out
the reason behind the rule requiring the candidates to mention the names and
the number of the wards in which they want to contest. It is obvious that the
particulars in question are required to identify the constituency in which a
candidate is desirous of seeking election. That purpose will be served if
either the number of the ward or its name is given unless there are more than
one wards having the same name. Once the number of the ward is mentioned in the
nomination paper the identification of the constituency is complete. The name
of the ward is merely an additional piece of evidence to identify the
constituency. if the number of the ward is mentioned there will be no
difficulty for the Returning Officer to find out in which constituency the candidate
wants to seek election.
We have no hesitation in holding that the
nomination papers of the returned candidates were rightly accepted by the
Returning Officer as they substantially complied with rules.
If a nomination is accepted by the Returning
Officer the presumption is that the nomination is a valid nomination.
It is for the party who challenges its
validity to establish his plea by showing that there was no substantial
compliance with law.
Form III in the Rules prescribes the form of
notice calling for election of councillors. That form reads :
"Election of Councillor(s) for Ward(s)
No..... of the ......Municipality, TehsilDistrict-.......
This form shows that even when the
authorities call upon the electors to elect councillors they do so with reference
to ward numbers and not with reference to the names of the wards evidently
because in the case of names of the wards more than one ward may have the same
or similar names but in the case of number no such difficulty can arise. If
there is a possibility of an error creeping into numbers there is similar
possibility in the case of names. The candidates have to guard against such
The question whether the failure to mention
the name of the constituency, in which the candidate wants to seek election in
his nomination paper per se vitiates his nomination came up for consi62
deration before this Court in Rangilal Chowdhury v. Dahu San & ors. (1).
That case related to a bye-election for the Dhanbad assembly constituency in
the Bihar State. In his nomination paper the candidate had mentioned the
constituency in which he was seeking election as 'Bihar'.
That. nomination paper was rejected by the
Returning Officer on the ground that the candidate had not mentioned the name
of the constituency in which he desires to seek election.
This Court differing from the opinion taken
by the Returning Officer held that the nomination paper was valid in law.
The ground on which this Court came to. that
conclusion was that the election in question was a bye-election; it pertained
to only one constituency is. Dhanbad. That, being so there was no difficulty
for the Returning Officer to identify the constituency in which the candidate
wanted to seek election. The ratio of that decision is that so long as there is
no difficulty in identifying the constituency in which the candidate wants to
seek election any omission in filling the, column relating to tile constituency
will be considered as unsubstantial. A somewhat similar view was taken by this
Court in Ram Awadesh Singh v. Smt. Sumitra Devi & Ors.(2) Mr. Panjwani
appearing for respondent No. 1 invited our attention to certain decisions where
the courts had taken the view that the particulars mentioned in the nomination
papers before them did not sufficiently comply with the rules.. That was
because, that from the particulars given in the nomination papers it was not
possible to definitely identify the constituency in which the concerned
candidates desired to contest. 'nose decisions were rendered on the peculiar
facts of those cases. The real test as mentioned earlier is whether from the
particulars given in a nomination paper the constituency from which the
candidate wants to seek election can be reasonably identified. Once it is held
that test is satisfied then the requirement of the rule is met. Any failure to
give further particulars cannot be considered as substantial.
In the result this appeal is allowed and the
order of the High Court is set aside and the Writ Petition is dismissed.
The first respondent will pay the costs of
the appellants herein both in this court as well as the High Court. The other
respondents will bear their own costs S.C. Appeal allowed.
(1)  2 S.C.R. 401.
(2) A.T.R. 1972 S.C, 580.