THE DISPUTED ELECTIONS (PRIME MINISTER AND SPEAKER) ACT, 1977
[Act, No. 16 of 1977]
[18th April, 1977]
An Act to provide for Authorities to deal with disputed elections to Parliament in the case of Prime Minister and Speaker of the House of the People and for matters connected therewith.
BE it enacted by Parliament in the Twenty-eighth Year of the Republic of India as follows :--
Section 1. Short title and commencement
(1) This Act may be called the Disputed Elections (Prime Minister and Speaker) Act, 1977.
(i) It shall be deemed to have come into force on the 3rd day of February, 1977.
Section 2. Definitions
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,--
(i) Authority means an Authority constituted under section 4 for the trial of a petition;
(i) candidate means a person who has been or claims to have been duly nominated as a candidate at any election;
(i) Icosts means all costs, charges and expenses of, or incidental to, a trial of a petition under this Act;
(i) election means an election in the case of Prime Minister or in the case of Speaker;
(i) election in the case of Prime Minister means an election to either House of Parliament of a person who holds the office of Prime Minister at the time of such election or is appointed as Prime Minister after such election;
(i) election in the case of Speaker means an election to the House of Parliament of a person who holds the officer of Speaker at the time of such election or is chosen as the Speaker for that House after such election;
(i) petition means a petition calling in question an election;
(i) prescribed means prescribed by rules made under this Act;
(i) returned candidate means a candidate whose name has been published under section 67 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951.), as duly elected at an election in the case of Prime Minister or, as the case may be, an election in the case of Speaker;
(j) each of the expressions defined in the Representative of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951.), but not defined in this Act shall have the same meaning as in that Act.
Section 3. Petitioners in respect of disputed elections
No election shall be called in question except by a petition presented in accordance with the provisions of this Act.
Section 4. Authority to try a petition
(1) Every petition shall be tried by an Authority, constituted for the purpose by the Central Government by notification in the Official Gazette.
(2) The Authority shall consist of a single member, who is a Judge of the Supreme Court, to be nominated in this behalf by the Chief Justice of India.
(3) If for any reason a vacancy occurs in the office of member aforesaid, the Chief Justice shall, as soon as practicable, nominate a person to fill the vacancy, and thereupon the trial of the petition shall be continued as if that member had been the Authority from the commencement of the trial of such petition:
Provided that the Authority may, if it thinks fit, recall and re-examine any of the witnesses already examined.
Section 5. Presentation of petition
(1) A petition calling in question any election may be presented on one or more of the grounds specified in sub-section (1) of section 100 and section 101 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951.), to the Election Commission by any candidate at such election or any elector within forty-five days from, but not earlier than, the date of election of the returned candidate, or if there are more returned candidates than one at the election and the dates of their election are different, the last of those dates:
Provided that a petition calling in question the election of a person who does not hold the office of Prime Minister or, as the case may be, Speaker of the House of People at the time of such election and who is appointed or chosen to that office after such election but before the expiry of the time for presenting such election petition, may be presented within forty-five days from the date on which such person was appointed as the Prime Minister or chosen as the Speaker of the House of People.
Explanation.-- In this sub-section, "elector" means a person who was entitled to vote at the election to which the petition relates, whether he has voted at such election or not.
(2) A petition shall be deemed to have been presented to the Election Commission when it is delivered to the Election Commission or to such other officer as may be appointed by it in this behalf--
(a) by the person making the petition, or
(b) by a person authorised in writing in this behalf by the person making the petition.
(3) Every petition shall be accompanied by as many copies thereof as there are respondents mentioned in the petition and one more copy for the use of the Election Commission, and every such copy shall be attested by the petitioner under his own signature to be a true copy of the petition.
(4) At the time of presenting a petition, the petitioner shall deposit with the Election Commission in such manner as may be prescribed a sum of two thousand rupees as security for costs.
(5) The Authority trying a petition may at any time during the course of the trial of the petition call upon the petitioner to give such further security for costs as it may direct.
(6) No person shall be entitled to be joined as a respondent to a petition under sub-section (3) of section 10 unless he has given such further security for costs as the Authority may direct.
Section 6. Parties to the petition
A petitioner shall join as respondents to his petition.--
(a) where the petitioner, in addition to claiming a declaration that the election of all or any of the returned candidates is void, claims a further declaration that he himself or any other candidate has been duly elected, all the contesting candidates other than the petitioner, and where no such further declaration is claimed, all the returned candidates; and
(b) any other candidate against whom allegations of any corrupt practice are made in the petition.
Section 7. Contents of petition
(1) A petition--
(a) shall contain a concise statement of the material facts on which the petitioner relies;
(b) shall set forth full particulars of any corrupt practice that the petitioner alleges, including as full a statement as possible of the names of the parties alleged to have committed such corrupt practice and the date and place of the commission of each such practice; and
(c) shall be signed by the petitioner and verified in the manner laid down in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908.), for the verification of pleadings:
Provided that where the petitioner alleges any corrupt practice, the petition shall also be accompanied by an affidavit in the prescribed form in support of the allegation of such corrupt practice and the particulars thereof.
(2) Any schedule or annexure to the petition shall also be signed by the petitioner and verified in the same manner as the petition.
Section 8. Relief that may be claimed by the petitioner
A petitioner may, in addition to claiming a declaration that the election of all or any of the returned candidates is void, claim a further declaration that he himself or any other candidate has been duly elected.
Section 9. Procedure on receiving petitions
(1) The Election Commission shall, as soon as may be after the receipt of a petition under section 5, forward it to the Authority for trying the petition.
(2) Where more petitions than one have been received under section 5 in respect of the same election, the Election Commission shall forward them to the Authority and such Authority may, in its discretion, try then separately or in one or more groups.
Section 10. Trial of petitions
(1) Subject to any rules made in this behalf, the Authority for the trial of any petition shall hold the trial at New Delhi.
(2) The Authority shall dismiss the petition--
(a) if the petition has not been presented within the period specified in sub-section (1) of section 5;
(b) if the petition does not comply with the provisions of sub-section (3) or sub-section (4) of section 5 or section 6.
Explanation.An order dismissing a petition under this sub-section shall be deemed to be an order made under clause (a) of section 16.
(3) Any candidate not already a respondent to a petition shall, upon application made by him to the Authority within fourteen days from the date of commencement of the trial and subject to any order as to security for costs which may be made by the Authority, be entitled to be joined as a respondent.
Explanation. For the purposes of this sub-section and of section 15 the trial of a petition shall be deemed to commence on the date fixed for the respondents to appear before the Authority and answer the claim or claims made in the petition.
(4) The Authority may, upon such terms as to costs and otherwise as it may deem fit, allow the particulars of any corrupt practice alleged in the petition to be amended or amplified in such manner as may in its opinion be necessary for ensuring a fair and effective trial of the petition, but shall not allow any amended of the petition which will have the effect to introducing particulars of a corrupt practice not previously alleged in the petition.
(5) The trial of a petition shall, so far as is practicable consistently with the interests of justice in respect of the trial, be continued from day to day until its conclusion, unless the Authority finds the adjournment of the trial beyond the following day to be necessary for reasons to be recorded.
(6) Every petition shall be tried as expeditiously as possible and endeavour shall be made to conclude the trial within six months from the date of commencement of the trial.