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Indian Case Summary

Jabar Singh vs Genda Lal on 20 December, 1963 – Case Summary

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In the case of Jabar Singh vs Genda Lal on 20 December, 1963, the Supreme Court of India was called upon to adjudicate a dispute arising from an election to the Madhya Pradesh Assembly. The appellant, Jabar Singh, and the respondent, Genda Lal, were among the candidates. The initial count showed Genda Lal as the winner, but a subsequent recount declared Jabar Singh the victor by a margin of two votes. Genda Lal challenged this result, leading to a complex legal battle that reached the Supreme Court.

Facts of the Case

The election took place on 21st February 1962. After the initial count, Genda Lal was declared the winner with 5,703 votes, while Jabar Singh had 5,671 votes. However, Jabar Singh requested a recount, which resulted in him being declared the winner with 5,656 votes to Genda Lal’s 5,654 votes. Genda Lal then filed an election petition, challenging the validity of Jabar Singh’s election on the grounds of improper reception of votes in favor of Jabar Singh and improper rejection of votes in regard to himself.

Issues Raised

The main issue raised was the nature and scope of the enquiry contemplated by sections 97, 100, and 101 of the Representation of People Act, 1951. Genda Lal argued that since Jabar Singh had not recriminated under section 97 of the Act, it was not open to him to make the plea that a recounting and re-scrutiny should be made on the ground that improper votes had been accepted in favor of Genda Lal and valid votes had been improperly rejected when they were cast in favor of Jabar Singh.

Court’s Observations and Judgment

The Court observed that the scope of the enquiry in a case falling under section 100 (1) (d) (iii) is to determine whether any votes have been improperly cast in favor of the returned candidate or any votes have been improperly refused or rejected in regard to any other candidate. These are the only two matters which would be relevant in deciding whether the election of the returned candidate has been materially affected or not.

The Court also noted that there are cases in which the election petition makes a double claim; it claims that the election of a returned candidate is void and also asks for a declaration that the petitioner himself or some other person has been duly elected. It is in regard to such a composite case that section 100 as well as section 100(1) would apply, and it is in respect of the additional claim for a declaration that some other candidate has been duly elected that section 97 comes into play.

The Court held that the pleas of the returned candidate under section 97 of the Act have to be tried after a declaration has been made under section 100 of the Act. The first part of the enquiry in regard to the validity of the election of the returned candidate must be tried within the narrow limits prescribed by section 100(1)(d) (iii) and the latter part of the enquiry which is governed by section 101(a) will have to be tried on a broader basis permitting the returned candidate to lead evidence in support of the pleas which he may have taken by way of recrimination under section 97(1).

In the end, the Court upheld the decision of the Tribunal that the election of Jabar Singh was void and refused to grant a declaration to Genda Lal that he had been duly elected. Both the appellant and the respondent’s appeals before the High Court against the decision of the Tribunal were dismissed, and the decision of the Tribunal was confirmed.