Basappa Vs Nagappa and others
Date of Order:
5th May 1954
Justice Mahajan, Mehar Chand (Cj), Mukherjea, B.K., Bose, Vivian, Bhagwati, Natwarlal H., Aiyyar, T.L. Venkatarama
Defendant: Nagappa and others
- The appellant and respondent No. 1 were duly nominated candidates for election to the Mysore Legislative Assembly from the Tarikere Constituency at the general election of that State held in January 1952, along with eight other individuals who appeared as respondents Nos. 2 to 9 in the proceeding before the High Court.
- The election was really contested by the remaining five candidates, including the appellant and respondent number 1, after five of the nominated candidates withdrew their candidacies within the allotted time. The election was held on January 4, 1952, and the results were announced on January 26, 1952. The results of the counting showed that the respondent No. 1 had received the biggest number of votes (8,093), with the appellant coming in second with 8,059 votes. The three remaining candidates—respondents Nos. 2, 3, and 4 before the High Court—received 6,239, 1,644, and 1,142 votes, respectively.
- The Mysore Gazette issued the Returning Officer's declaration that Respondent No. 1 was the successful candidate on February 11, 1952. Sometime after that, the respondent No. 1 filed his return of election expenditures along with the requisite declaration, and notice of this return was published on March 31, 1952.
- The appellant subsequently filed a petition with the Election Commission contesting the validity of the election, claiming, among other things, that certain election laws had been broken and that respondent No. I had engaged in a number of serious corrupt activities either directly or through his agents that had a significant impact on the outcome of the election.
- The petitioner requested a ruling that his own election was valid and that of respondent No. I was invalid. This petition, which has the date 10 April 1952, was sent to the Election Commission via registered mail and was really received by that organization the day after, on 14 April. The matter was referred to the Election Tribunal in Shimoga by the Election Commission, and it was heard by the tribunal on October 25, 1952. The only revision sought was a change to the prayer clause by the addition of a prayer for declaring the entire election invalid.
- On that date, the appellant filed an application for amendment of the petition, heading it as one under Order VI, rule 17, of the Civil Procedure Code. At the same time, it was stated that if this relief could not be granted, the petitioner would instead ask for the relief he had originally requested, which was for the election of respondent No. I to be declared invalid and for the petitioner to be recognized as the winner. Despite respondent number one's protests, the Tribunal allowed this amendment request.
- The matter was then heard, and up to 27 issues were set forth based on the claims made by the various parties.
In which matters the Writ of Certiorari should be issued ?
- According to Lord Sumner in King v. Nat. Bell Liquors Limited (3), the superior Court's control over appeals is exercised on two points. One is the scope of inferior jurisdiction and the requirements and restrictions on its exercise; the other is compliance with the law when exercising lower jurisdiction.
- Normally, these two headings include all possible justifications for requesting a writ of certiorari. In reality, stating the principles is not difficult; the challenge comes when trying to apply the concepts to the specifics of a given instance. A tribunal may have the authority to launch an investigation, but while conducting the investigation, it may operate in blatant defiance of the rules of process or, in the absence of any specific procedure, it may violate the principles of natural justice.
- In such circumstances, a writ of certiorari may be available. An error in the decision or conclusion itself may also be subject to a writ of certiorari, but it must be a substantial error that is evident from the proceedings as a whole, such as when it is based on blatant contempt for or ignorance of the law. In other words, it's not just a bad decision; it's a patent error that certiorari can fix.
- It seems obvious that certiorari, a ruse for an appeal, would not be granted. It is not a violation of the law to request a rehearing of an order or decision that was the subject of the proceedings. It exists to repair legal errors that are discovered after an order or decision has been made, as well as irregularities, lack of jurisdiction, and overreach of authority. The High Court's justification for issuing the writ is listed under three headings in the judgment itself.
- The first major point identifies the areas in which the Election Tribunal acted without authority. In this regard, it is claimed that the Tribunal lacked the authority to extend the deadline for submitting the election petition as well as to grant the petitioner's request for an amendment and to hear and decide the issue using the revised petition. The second head relates to actions that go beyond the scope of authority.
- The Tribunal allegedly overstepped its bounds of authority when it reached conclusions about issues that were not specifically pleaded and raised, annulled respondent No. 1's election, and declared the petitioner to have been duly elected despite the absence of any evidence that the petitioner would have won more votes than respondent No. 1 absent the latter's corrupt behavior.
- The third head is supposed to address discrepancies that are visible on the record's surface. According to the High Court, these obvious mistakes invalidated three of the crucial findings that the Tribunal relied on to make its judgement. These conclusions concern the fact that voting started at one of the polling places significantly later than expected, the respondent No. 1 hiring a government employee to help his election chances, and filing a bogus expenditure report. We'll address each of these issues individually for consideration.
- The High Court believes that the Tribunal acted without jurisdiction when it first extended the statute of limitations for presenting the election petition and then when it granted the petitioner's request for an amendment and proceeded with the case based on the amended petition.
- The High Court noted that the Tribunal did not record any findings that such hiring was proven with reference to the omission of the hiring charges. The first respondent had to pay the money value for their use, which is equivalent to claiming that he was responsible for the hiring fees, according to the Tribunal's finding that some of the cars were hired while others had been borrowed.
- The issue has been addressed in the Tribunal's order's paragraph 29(d), and all of the evidence has been examined. We are unable to claim that the Tribunal's conclusion that Respondent No. 1 had neglected to include the dinner and hotel costs in his statement of election expenses is an unfounded conclusion. In this regard, reference may be made to paragraph 29(f) of the Tribunal's order, which covers the subject in great depth.
- Overall, in our judgment, the so-called apparent mistakes that the High Court drew attention to are neither legal mistakes nor do they appear on the surface of the record.
- Although an appellate court may have reached a different judgment after reviewing the facts, these issues may not warrant the issuance of a writ of certiorari.
According to us, the High Court's decision cannot be upheld, and this appeal must be granted. As a result, the High Court's writ will be revoked. We do not impose any expenses for this appeal.