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Today Date : Sunday, June 23, 2024

Will the Theni Parliament constituency be empty?

Will the Theni Parliament constituency be empty?

Ravindranath, son of former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, contested on behalf of AIADMK in the 2019 parliamentary elections in Theni constituency. EVKS Elangovan contested on behalf of the Congress in the DMK alliance. Thanga Tamil Selvan contested on behalf of AAMUK. In this, Rabindranath won by a margin of about 76,000 votes. Apart from Theni, AIADMK did not win anywhere in Tamil Nadu in the 2019 parliamentary elections.
Milani (from DMK), a voter of that constituency,, filed an election case in the Madras High Court against Rabindranath's victory. The High Court gave a judgment in this case that,"Ravindranath has deliberately concealed assets and income in his nomination. He did not mention this in Form 26. This is against the provisions of the Representation of the People Act including Sections 89, 100 (1) (A). It is wrong for the Election Officer to accept his nomination. As it is proved that he has concealed his income and assets, I hereby declare Rabindranath's election victory null and void," Justice Sundar ruled.
Now the Theni constituency may become vacant as the victory has been declared null and void. The Madras High Court has given him 30 days to appeal. If Rabindranath does not file an appeal, the Theni constituency may be declared vacant and a by-election announced.
Legal experts point to various cases on what will happen if Rabindranath appeals. In June 1975, the Allahabad High Court ruled that Indira Gandhi's victory in Rae Bareli constituency in 1971 was invalid. Against this, Indira Gandhi went to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court imposed a conditional stay on the High Court order, saying that Indira Gandhi could continue as Prime Minister and that she would not be able to vote in Parliament. The very next day, Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency.
Following this, when many such cases went to the Supreme Court, one was dismissed or kept pending. Recently, the Kerala High Court ruled that Devikulam CPM MLA Raja's victory was nullified as he had concealed his Christian identity. While he appealed to the Supreme Court, it granted an interim stay till July with certain conditions. The Supreme Court also announced that he can continue as an MLA pending a decision on the appeal.
If Rabindranath appeals against the verdict, will the Supreme Court give or set aside the judgment given that day in the Indira Gandhi case? Will the Election Commission declare Theni constituency vacant? The answer to these questions will be available after the Supreme Court verdict!