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HC set to examine witnesses in petition challenging controversial declaration of result for 6th Tening A/C in March 2018

Nagaland News

DIMAPUR, SEPTEMBER 15: After four years and twenty hearings ~ and a new Assembly election knocking at the door already ~ the Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court is finally set to examine witnesses in the election petition challenging the controversial declaration of result for 6th Tening Assembly Constituency in March 2018.
The petition was filed by one of the contestants, Namdaudi Rangkau Zeliang (NR Zeliang), an NPF candidate, who was initially declared winner of the seat. However, after citing ‘clerical error’, the tabulation was reviewed and the NDPP candidate, Namri Nchang, was found to have polled 168 votes more than NR Zeliang; and the former was declared the winner.
To challenge this, NR Zeliang filed the election petition on April 16, 2018. During the course of hearings, the Court framed a number of issues for determination and disposal of the case.
It includes: Whether, after the counting of the votes cast in favour of the candidates of 6th Tening Assembly Constituency for election to the 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly was over on March 3, 2018 and the result was declared with certificate of election issued to the petitioner, the process of election was completed and Returning Officer had become functus officio (without further authority or legal competence) or not?
If the election process was over and completed and the Returning Officer had become functus officio, whether his further action in submitting a report on the same day sating that there has been an error committed while recording the total number of votes cast in favour of the petitioner, which had led to cumulative vote difference in favour of the petitioner while the actual number of votes cast in favour of Namri Nchang was higher and, therefore, should be declared elected, was beyond his jurisdiction or not; and if the Returning Officer was acting beyond his jurisdiction, what would be the consequences?
The Court also decided to determine if the Returning Officer was acting within his jurisdiction, whether the required procedure provided by law was followed in the re-tabulation of the votes cast in favour of the candidates, and the conclusion that Namri had secured more votes was the correct or not?
Whether or not under the facts and circumstances of the case, the Election Commission of India was justified in passing the order dated March 4, 2018, directing the Returning Officer to cancel the initial declaration of the result in favour of NR Zeliang and to declare the right candidate who polled the highest number of valid votes as elected “and thereafter to take all necessary consequential actions as required under law? If not, what would be the legal consequences?”
Also, whether the Returning Officer was justified in issuing the order dated March 4, 2018, cancelling the result in favour of NR Zeliang and declaring Namri as the return candidate of the Assembly Constituency?
On Thursday, CT Jamir, the Counsel appearing for Namri, submitted that he has completed the verification of documents.
Medongutuo Vero, Counsel, submitted that S Dutta, the Senior Counsel appearing for the petitioner, was indisposed therefore, the matter may be listed again another day.
“The matter is ready for examination of witnesses. List it on October 11, 2022 for evidence as prayed for by the learned Counsels”, Justice Songkhupchung Serto stated in his order.
NR Zeliang is the brother of current UDA Chairman TR Zeliang.
(Page News Service)

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