Singh Yadav Vs. Aimaduddin Ahmed Khan  INSC 166 (9 March 1994)
Singh (J) Kuldip Singh (J) Pandian, S.R. (J)
1994 SCC Supl. (2) 308
Judgment of the Court was delivered by KULDIP SINGH, J.- This appeal under
Section 116-A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (the Act) is
directed against the judgment dated 18-51989 of the High Court of Rajasthan, Jaipur
Bench by which the election of the appellant to the Rajasthan Legislative
Assembly from the Tijara Constituency +From the Judgment and Order dated
18-5-1989 of the Rajasthan High Court in Election Petition No. 10 of 1985 310
has been set aside on the ground that the appellant committed the corrupt
practice under Section 123(4) of the Act.
poll was held on 5-3-1985. Six candidates, including the
appellant, Aimaduddin Ahmed Khan, respondent in the appeal herein, and one Maya
Ram had filed their nomination papers. The appellant was candidate of the
Congress Party whereas the respondent was the candidate of Lok Dal. The
nomination paper of Maya Ram was rejected by the Returning Officer during the
course of scrutiny. Five candidates contested the election. The total number of
valid votes polled was 70,802. The appellant received 37,481 votes whereas the
respondent received 29,982 votes.
On 6-3-1985 the appellant was declared elected to the Rajasthan
Legislative Assembly from the Tijara Constituency.
Ahmed Khan filed election petition on 9-4- 1985 challenging the election of the
appellant on the following grounds:
nomination paper of Maya Ram was improperly rejected by the Returning Officer
and the election of the respondent is liable to be set aside under Section
100(1)(c) of the Act.
the date of the election the respondent was not qualified under the
Constitution and/or the Act to be chosen to fill the seat, inasmuch as he had
not made and subscribed oath or affirmation in the manner as prescribed under
Article 173(a) of the Constitution and the election of the respondent is liable
to be set aside under Section 100(1)(a) of the Act.
nomination of the respondent was liable to be rejected on the ground that on
the date fixed for scrutiny of the nomination, he was not qualified for being
chosen to fill the seat under Article 173 of the Constitution.
respondent is guilty of corrupt practice as defined in subsections (3) and (4)
of Section 123 of the Act and his election is liable to be set aside under
Section 100(1)(b) of the Act.
appellant contested the election petition by denying all the allegations. He
specifically denied having committed any corrupt practice or consented to the
commission of any corrupt practice as defined under the Act. With regard to the
rejection of nomination paper of Maya Ram, the case of the appellant was that
the said nomination paper was rightly rejected. The appellant further raised an
objection that the respondent-petitioner had not complied with the provisions
of Section 81 of the Act inasmuch as the election petition was not accompanied
with the requisite number of copies and that the copy of the election petition
supplied to the appellant was not a true and correct copy. The respondent also
contended that the allegations of corrupt practices were too vague and lacking in
material facts as required under Section 83 of the Act and as such the
paragraphs containing the said allegations were liable to be struck off.
the pleadings of the parties the High Court framed thefollowing issues:
1. Whether the petitioner is a voter of Bani Park Assembly Constituency in Part
37, Serial No. 665?
Whether the petitioner is popularly known as Durru Mian?
the nomination paper of Shri Maya Ram had been improperly rejected?
the respondent was not qualified to be chosen to fill the seat under Article
173 of the Constitution of India?
the letter dated 27-2-1985 bears the signatures of the
the respondent is guilty of committing corrupt practices within the meaning of
Section 123(3) and Section 123(4) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951
as alleged in para Nos. 15 to 27 of the election petition?
the petitioner has not deposited the security deposit in accordance with the
provisions of Section 117 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 ?
the election petition was not accompanied with the requisite number of copies
of the election petition and the copy served on the respondent is not true and
correct copy of the election petition. If so, what is its result?
the allegations of corrupt practices under Section 123(3) and (4) of the
Representation of the People Act are too vague and lacking in material facts
and are liable to be struck off?
7, 8 and 9 were treated as preliminary issues and were decided by the High
Court by its order dated 30-9- 1985. These issues were decided against the
appellant and in favour of the respondent-petitioner. It is not necessary for
us to deal with the merits of the High Court judgment in respect of these
1 was decided in favour of the respondent- petitioner. Issue 2 was decided in
the affirmative and it was held that respondent-petitioner was popularly known
as Durru Mian. Issue 3 was answered in the negative and issue 4 was decided in favour
of the appellant. No arguments were addressed by the learned counsel for the
parties before us on issues 1 to 4 and as such it is not necessary for us to
deal with these issues any further.
issue 5 the High Court came to the conclusion that the letter dated 27-2-1985
was signed by the appellant and as a consequence the High Court decided issue 6
partly against the appellant by recording a finding that the appellant was
guilty of committing the corrupt practice within the meaning of sub-section (4)
of Section 123 of the Act. The election petition was, thus, allowed and the
election of the respondent to the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly from Tijara
Constituency was set aside under Section 100(1)(b) of the Act.
only ground on which the appellant's election has been set aside is that he got
published in a local newspaper of Alwar a defamatory news item against the
respondent- petitioner which amounted to a corrupt practice. The news item was
published in the newspaper called Vishwa Vijay on 27-2-1985 and repeated on
1-3-1985. The High Court held the appellant responsible for the publication of
the news items primarily on the basis of the letter dated 27-2-1985, addressed
to Shyam Narain Maurya Editor Vishwa Vijay, which according to the High
Court-was written and signed by the appellant. The said letter in Hindi script
when translated reads as under:
Shyam Naramji, Editor Vishwa Vijay Newspaper, Alwar.
Kindly publish in your newspaper, Vishwa Vijay my statement given below which
is against the Congress (1) candidate from the Tijara Constituency and
distribute the same amongst the voters of the Tijara Constituency so that I
derive some benefits from it in the election.
hearing stories in connection with Durru Mian's character-lessness, the masses
have started going against him. He is Nawab Aminuddin's nephew and calls
himself his son.
raped hundreds of women and one woman died at his residence at the time of undergoin
g abortion. From Nawab Aminuddin's residence, he stole and took away cash and
ornaments worth Rs 15 lakhs and was arrested in Lucknow and rotted in jails for
many months. He had the records burnt at the Punjab Governor's House. Moreover
now he has a meat shop in Delhi and transports flesh of dead buffalows from Jaipur
to Delhi and sells the same there and in Jaipur, when the police tried to
catch, he somehow or the other, was successful in finishing the case.
27-2-1985. Faithfully, Sd/-Jagmal Singh Yadav Candidate DMKP Party Tijara
case of the respondent as set out in the election petition is that on reading
the issues of the newspaper Vishwa Vijay dated 27-2-1985 and 1-3-1985, wherein
highly damaging statements bringing the respondent in disrepute before the
electors, he inquired from Shyam Narain Maurya about the basis for publishing
the news items and further threatened him with prosecution. Maurya, however,
explained that he published the news items on the basis of the letter dated
27-2-1985 sent to him by the appellant. Maurya handed over the said letter
along with an affidavit dated 17-4-1985 to the respondent. In the affidavit the
circumstances under which Maurya published the defamatory material were
enumerated. The affidavit was attested by the Notary Public. The
respondent-petitioner filed the two issues of the newspaper Vishwa Vijay, copy
of the letter dated 27-2- 1985 and the affidavit of Maurya dated 17-4-1985
along with the election petition.
support of his aforesaid case, the respondent- petitioner examined himselfas PW
1. He stated that he sought an explanation from Maurya as to how he had
published the news items which were totally false and contained defamatory
allegations against him. He further stated that he had gone with the intention
of initiating civil and criminal proceedings against Maurya for defamation. Maurya
explained to him that he published the news items on the basis of the written
information received from the appellant. PW 1 further stated that thereafter Maurya
gave him the original letter dated 27-2-1985 which was marked as Ex. PW 1/9.
Photocopy of the said letter was marked as Ex. PW 1/10C. The affidavit of Maurya
was marked as Ex. PW 1/10. Copies of the newspapers were marked as Exs. PW
1/10A and PW 1/10B. During the course of cross-examination PW 1 stated that Maurya
gave him letter Ex. PW 1110C on 17- 4-1985 at Jaipur. He further stated that he
had received the letter Ex. PW 1/9 and photocopy of the letter marked Ex. PW
1/10C on 17-4-1985 at Jaipur. With regard to the affidavit Ex. PW 1/10, PW 1
stated that when he threatened Maurya with criminal as well as civil action, Maurya
opted to give an affidavit in support of his explanation to the effect that he
had published the news items 313 under the directions of the appellant. PW 1
stated that when he met Maurya at Alwar, Paltu Khan (PW 7) also accompanied
Khan (PW 7) has deposed that he accompanied the respondent- petitioner when he
had gone to meet Maurya and he was the witness to the talk .which took place
between the two regarding the printing and publication of the news items.
respondent-petitioner also examined Shabbir Ahmad (PW 11) who is employed as
Reader in the Court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Jaipur. He stated
that he had gone to meet the petitioner at Loharu House in Jaipur on 17- 4-1985 in order to invite him to a function to be held on 18-4-1985 in connection with the marriage of his daughter.
stated that when he was sitting with the petitioner, Maurya came there and
handed over the letter dated 27-2- 1985, the photocopy of the said letter, two
newspapers and an affidavit. Chandmal Jain (PW 16) is the Notary Public before
whom the affidavit Ex. PW 1/10 was sworn by Maurya.
proved the signature of Maurya on the said affidavit and he further stated that
he had attested the affidavit and made an entry in his register.
against the aforesaid evidence adduced by the respondent-petitioner, the
appellant examined Shyam Narain Maurya as DW 20. In his statement before the
High Court Maurya stated that the appellant did not give him any matter for
publication against respondent-petitioner and that Ex. PW 1/9 was not given to
him by the appellant. He also stated that he did not supply Ex. PW 1/10, Ex. PW
1/10B and Ex. PW 1/10C to respondent-petitioner. According to him Chiranjilal
Advocate and Paltu Khan had met him in his office at Alwar on 16-4-1985 and
they told him that Shri M.I. Khan, Additional Advocate General had called him
(DW 20) to Jaipur and thereupon he (DW 20) came to Jaipur on the same evening
and stayed along with Chiranjilal in Hotel Golden Inn. He further deposed that
M.I. Khan met him in the hotel and asked him to meet him on the next day. On
the next day he (DW 20) met M.I. Khan in his office in the presence of Paltu
Khan and the respondent-petitioner. He further stated that Khan and the
respondent-petitioner told him that they would give him Rs 2000 in case he gave
them in writing that the appellant had sent a letter to him for the publication
of the news items. DW 20 further stated that he was shown several papers
containing the signatures of the appellant. He stated that he had agreed to the
suggestion put forward by the respondent-petitioner but at the same time he
declined the financial assistance. DW 20 stated that Khan told him that he
(Khan) would help him (DW 20) in a criminal case under Section 500 IPC which
was pending against him (DW 20) in the High Court. Thereafter, Khan got the
affidavit Ex. PW 1/10 typed in his office and the same was verified before the
Notary Public. DW 20 finally stated that on 18-4-1985 he sent a complaint in the shape of an affidavit to the
Chief Justice of the High Court at Jaipur bringing to his notice the
circumstances under which he was made to sign a false affidavit on the previous
day. He placed on record copy of the affidavit which was exhibited as DW 1/2.
Advocate, has been examined as PW 14 but his testimony does not help the
respondent-petitioner in any manner.
are many contradictions in the testimony of Shyam Narain Maurya as DW 20. The
High Court discussed his evidence in detail and finally 314 came to the
conclusion that he was a self-confessed liar.
version given by Maurya in his statement as DW 20 is also not in accord with
the version which was given by him to the appellant - Jagmal Singh. The
appellant in his statement as DW 1 has stated that Maurya had told him that he
(DW 20) was taken to Golden Hotel, Jaipur, where Chiranjilal, Advocate, Paltu
Khan, M.I. Khan, S. Ahmed, Collector of Bharatpur, Shri Ayub Khan, ex-MLA and
the respondent-petitioner made him to drink and thereafter they got his
signatures on various papers. Learned Single Judge of the High Court after
careful examination of the testimony of Shyam Narain Maurya concluded as under:
carefully considered the testimony of Shyam Narain Maurya in the light of other
evidence on record, I am of the view that reliance -cannot be placed on the
testimony of Shri Shyam Narain Maurya (DW 20)." 16.We agree with the High
Court that Shyam Narain Maurya is a wholly unreliable witness and his testimony
has to be discarded in toto. No reliance can be placed on his affidavit Ex. PW
1/10. The charge of corrupt practice under Section 123(4) of the Act by the appellant,
in our view, primarily depends on the question as to whether the letter Ex. PW
1/9 bears the signatures of the appellant.
prove the signatures of the appellant, the respondent- petitioner produced Shri
C.T. Sarwate (PW 6) a handwriting expert. The appellant also produced Shri A.S.
Kapoor (DW 33) another handwriting expert to controvert the testimony of PW 6.
The High Court examined in detail the reasons given by the two experts and
finally preferred the opinion rendered by Shri C.T. Sarwate (PW 6) in the
considered the disputed signatures in Ex. PW 1/9 and the admitted signatures of
the respondent, in the light of the reasons given by both the experts, namely, Shri
C.T. Sarwate PW 6 and Shri A.S. Kapoor DW 33, 1 am of the view that the
characteristics found in the admitted signatures of the respondent are present
in the disputed signatures and the dissimilarities between the disputed
signatures and the admitted signatures pointed out by Shri A.S. Kapoor DW 33,
are also found in some of the admitted signatures of the respondent. To my mind
the reasons given by Shri Sarwate PW 6 for arriving at the conclusion that the
disputed signatures and the standard signatures have been written by one and
the same person, are more cogent and convincing and I am inclined to agree with
the opinion expressed by Shri Sarwate that the disputed signatures in Ex. PW
1/9 are of the respondent." 17.We have examined the opinions given by the
if we agree with the High Court that the opinion expressed by Shri Sarwate is
more convincing than that of Shri Kapur, it would not be possible for us to
hold that the signatures on Ex. PW 1/9 are of the appellant. It is settled
proposition of law that the charge of corrupt practice against a returned
candidate has to be proved like a criminal charge and unless there is cogent
evidence to take the case beyond reasonable doubt the election cannot be set
aside. Maurya (DW 20) having been proved wholly unreliable witness, the source
of the letter Ex. PW 1/9 becomes highly tainted and as such doubtful. It is no
doubt correct that the signatures on the letter Ex. PW 1/9 have to be proved
independently and irrespective of the source from which the document is
produced but keeping in view the totality of the circumstances in this case it
would be difficult for us to 315 hold the charge proved against the appellant
only on the testimony of the handwriting expert.
otherwise there are glaring circumstances in this case which creates a doubt in
our mind that the signatures under the defamatory material contained in Ex. PW
1/9 are of the appellant.
appellant himself is a lawyer and an experienced politician having contested
two elections before the election in dispute. It is difficult for us to believe
that a person in the position of the appellant would address a letter
containing highly defamatory matter for publication during the course of
have carefully examined the paper on which the letter Ex. PW 1/9 is written. It
is a small piece of paper measuring hardly 5" from top to bottom. The
letter is so closely typed from the very top of the paper till the bottom that
it gives an impression as if the typist had only that piece of paper to do the
job. The very look of the paper and the typed writing on it gives the
impression that the letter was prepared under abnormal circumstances. It does
not give the impression of a normal letter written in the ordinary course of
letter Ex. PW 1/9 dated 27-2-1985 and its contents were published in
the newspaper dated 27-2-1985 with the dateline 26-2-1985. Shyam Narain Maurya stated as DW 20 that the
newspaper "dated 27-2-1985 was printed one day earlier i.e.,
on 26-2-1985". The respondent-petitioner in
his affidavit dated 17-4-1985 Ex. PW 1/10 deposed that the
appellant had handed over the letter dated 27-2-1985 Ex. PW 1/9 to Maurya personally on 27-2-1985. If the newspaper was printed on 26-2-1985, it is difficult to understand how the letter dated 27-2-1985 which was delivered to Mr Maurya on the same day
could be printed in the said newspaper.
is no contemporaneous evidence to show the publication of the news items. It is
difficult to believe that after reading the news items the
respondent-petitioner could have remained silent. The least what was expected
of a reasonable person under the circumstances was to have lodged a first
information report in respect of the news items or sent a complaint to any of
the authorities under the Act.
we doubt the genuineness of the letter Ex. PW 1/9, the oral evidence of
publication produced by the respondent-petitioner loses its importance.
have given our thoughtful consideration to the evidence on the record. We have
also carefully gone through the reasoning of the High Court. We are not
convinced that the charge of corrupt practice under Section 123(4) of the Act
has been proved against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt.
allow the appeal, set aside the judgment of the High Court and dismiss the
election petition filed by the respondent-petitioner with costs. We quantify
the costs as Rs 20,000.
The special leave petition is dismissed as having become infructuous.