Dharam Singh Rathi Vs. Hari Singh
M.L.A. & Ors  INSC 120 (2 May 1975)
FAZALALI, SYED MURTAZA
CITATION: 1975 AIR 1274 1975 SCR 696 1975 SCC
Representation of the People Act, 1951--S.
33(1)--Rr. 2(2) and (4) of the Rules--Failure to supply postal address in the
nomination paper--Effect of--Failure of proper authentication of thumb
The appellant challenged the election of the
respondent to the State. Assembly on the ground that he nomination papers of
two persons were improperly rejected by the Retiring Officer. The High Court
held that the nomination papers suffered from defects of non compliance with
the requirements of s. 33(1) of the Representation of People Act and so were rightly
Dismissing the appeal to this Court,
HELD : (i) The High Court was right in its
finding that the nomination paper of one of the persons was not improperly
rejected by the Returning Officer. From a reading of s. 4 of the Rules and Form
28 it would be clear that non-supply of postal address of the candidate or
supplying such cryptic address which virtually amounts to non-supply of address
is a failure to comply with the provisions of s. 33(1) of the Act. [471-G]
(2)(a) Nomination paper of the second person had been rightly rejected by the
Returning Officer. The defect that the name of the constituency of the proposer
was not given in the nomination form was of a substantial character.
[472-B] (b)There was clear violation of r.
2(2) of the Rules. A thumb mark has to be placed by the proper on the
nomination paper in the presence of the Returning Officer and such officer, on
being satisfied as to his identity, has to attest the mark as being the mark of
that person. This has not been done in this case. [472-B]
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Civil Appeal
No. 84 of 1973 From the judgment and order dated the 8th day of December, 1972
of the Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh in Election Petition No. 13
of 1972 B. R. L. Iyangar and R. L. Kohli, for the appellant.
J. P. Goyal and R. A. Gupta, for respondent
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
UNTWALIA, J.-This is an appeal under section 116A of the Representation of the
People Act 1951-hereinafter called the Act, by the election petitioner whose
petition challenging the election of respondent no. 1 (for brevity-the
respondent) has been dismissed by the High Court.
Eventually the only ground which could be
pressed in the High Court to challenge the election of the respondent was that
the nomination papers of two persons namely Shri Jagan Nath and Shri Prabha Ram
were improperly rejected by the Returning Officer. The High Court framed only
two issues for trial and decided 470 them against the appellant. It has held
that the nomination papers-both of Jagan Nath and Prabha Ram suffered from
defects of substantial character and, therefore, they were rightly rejected by
the Retuning Officer.
Jagan Nath filed two nomination papers in the
prescribed Form No. 28 prescribed under rule 4 of the Conduct of the Election
Rules 1961-hereinafter referred to as the Rules.
In both the papers in the column "His
postal address" the only thing written was-"Smalkha Mandi". The
Returning Officer rejected both the nomination papers of Jagan Nath on the
ground that the candidate had not given the name of his under and his full
address. The name given as Jagan Nath and address as Smalkha Mandi were not
sufficient. The Returning Officer described if as a technical error fit to be
rectified but because there was nobody present on behalf of the candidate at
the time of the scrutiny of the nomination papers the rectification could not
Hence the nominations were rejected.
Following the decisions of this Court in Brijendralal Gupta and another v. Jwalaprasad
and others(1) and in Prahladdas Khandelwal v. Narendra Kumar Salve(2) the High
Court has held that the nomination papers suffered from a defect of
non-compliance with the requirement of section 33(1) of the Act and that the
defect was of a substantial character. On consideration of the evidence adduced
before it, it held :
"Thus in the established circumstances
of the case, it was manifest that the mention of Smalkha Mandi only, in the
nomination papers was no more than an apology of an address. It was, according
to Mr. Joginder Pal Narang's testimony in this Court hopelessly incomplete.
To my mind also it was equal to not giving
any address at all." We concur in the view of the High Court that filling
up the column of postal address of the candidate in the nomination paper is
necessary. The High Court has referred to several provisions in the Act and the
Rules to point out the purpose of supplying the postal address. It appears that
the name of the post office concerning Smalkha Mandi, Smalkha village, Model
Town etc. was Smalkha. The name of the post office was not Smalkha Mandi. On
the face of the address given in the nomination papers there was the defect of
incorrect mention of the name of the post office. The name of the District was
also not given. It has come in the evidence of the respondent that there were
other places, of the names of Smalkha and Smalkha Mandi in the States of
Haryana and Rajasthan. Even ignoring the defects aforesaid the High Court has
noticed on consideration of the evidence and specially of Jagan Nath himself
that the postal address given in either of his nomination forms was so very
incomplete that no letter addressed to him to that address could possibly be
delivered to him. There were several persons of the name of Jagan Nath in
Smalkha Mandi, Smalkha village.
Jagan Nath was (1)  3 S.C.R.650.
(2)  2 S.C.R.157.
471 serving at the shop of a Sweet meat
Seller, Railway Road, Smalkha Mandi and was resident of Bharbbujanwali Gali.
The interesting pan of this case is that Jagan Nath did not file an election
petition. It was filed by the brother of an unsuccessful candidate. Eventually
Jagan Nath was impleaded as a respondent in the election petition. He filed a
written statement and examined himself as R.W. 5.
His definite case was that until and unless
some more details were given in his postal address no letter on that skeleton
description as given in the nomination papers could be delivered to him by the
postal authorities. Taking the totality of the circumstances the High Court has
rightly held that no postal address in effect was given on either of the
nomination papers of Jagan Nath.
A nomination paper has to be delivered to the
Returning Officer by the candidate or his proposer in accordance with section
33(1) of the Act. The nomination paper must be completed in the prescribed
form. The requirement of subsection (4) is that the Returning Officer shall
satisfy himself on the presentation of a nomination paper that the names and
electoral roll numbers of the candidate and hi,-,' proposer as entered in the
nomination paper are the same as those entered in the electoral rolls. In
certain types of defects detected at the time of the presentation of the
nomination paper the proviso to sub-section (4) empowers the Returning Officer
to overlook such mistakes or to get them rectified as the case may be.
Generally speaking the kinds of defects mentioned in the proviso would be of' a
substantial character so as to justify the rejection of a nomination. paper. There
may, however, even amongst these types of defects be some such that
necessitates their rectification and if not rectified that may make the
nomination paper liable to be rejected. But the defect of non-supply of postal
address is not covered by the proviso to sub-section (4) of section 33 of the
Act. It is a defect which calls for consideration at the time of the scrutiny
of the nomination papers. If the defect is a substantial one then the
nomination paper has got to be rejected. Subsection (4) of section 36 enjoins
the Returning Officer not to reject any nomination paper on the ground of any
defect which is not of a substantial character. But if it is of a substantial
character then sub-section (2) provides that the Returning Officer shall reject
the nomination paper when "there has been a failure to comply with any of
the provisions of section 33 or section 4." Reading Rule 4 of the Rules
and Form 28 it would be, noticed that non-supply of postal address of the
candidate or supplying such cryptic address which virtually amounts to
non-supply of address is a failure to comply with the provisions of section
Hence we agree with the findings of the High
Court that Jagan Nath's nomination. papers were not improperly rejected by the
The nomination paper of Prabha Ram suffered
from more serious types of defects. The Returning Officer rejected the
nomination of Prabha Ram on the grounds (1) that the name of the Constituency
of the proposer was not given in the nomination paper ; (2) that the numbers of
electoral roll given in the nomination paper did not tally with the candidate's
number in the true copy of the electrol roll;
10 SC/75-31 472 (3)that at the name of the
proposer one more name was given and the entries in the electoral roll did not
tally with the numbers mentioned by the proposer and the candidate in the
nomination paper. Following the dictum of this Court in the case of N. T.
Veluswami Thever v. C. Raja Nainar and others(1) the High Court has taken into
consideration another defect, in that the thumb impression of one of the two
proposers had not been authenticated in the manner required by law. Even
ignoring grounds 2 and 3 forming the basis of the order of the Returning
Officer rejecting the nomination paper of Prabha Ram as being possibly covered
by the proviso to section 33(4), the first defect pointed out by the Returning,
Officer was of a substantial character.
It made it obligatory for him to reject the
nomination paper. Over and above that defect the High Court has rightly noticed
another fatal defect. Section 2(i) of the Act says :
" sign' in relation to a person who is
unable to write his name means authenticate in such manner as may be
prescribed." The prescribed Manner of authentication is to be found in Rule
2(2) of the Rules. A thumb mark has to be placed by the proposer on the
nomination paper in the presence of the Returning Officer and such officer on
being satisfied as to his identity has to attest the mark as being the mark of
that person. There was, therefore, a clear violation of this rule also. We see
no reason to differ from the view of the High Court that the nomination paper
of Prabha Ram was not improperly rejected by the Returning Officer.
For the reasons stated above the appeal fails
and is dismissed with costs payable to respondent no. I alone.
(1) A.I.R. 1959 S.C. 422.