|Special circumstances `may warrant intervention' "There is no absolute bar to review"|
CHENNAI : In special circumstances, a writ petition would be maintainable in matters relating to elections, the Madras High Court has ruled.
Passing orders on a batch of petitions filed by various political parties highlighting the poll-related violence on October 13, 2006, Justice Prafulla Kumar Misra said: "It can be said that though generally the jurisdiction of the High Court should not be invoked under Article 226 of the Constitution to interfere with any ongoing process of election, and should not be invoked directly to interfere with any matter connected to election after the election process was over, it cannot be said that there is an absolute bar to invoke such an extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 226.
"Therefore, it cannot be said that a writ petition is not maintainable in all circumstances; rather it would be more appropriate to say that under special circumstances, a writ petition would be maintainable in matters relating to elections even before the completion of the election process and after completion of the election process," said Mr. Justice Misra.
As for the nature of the circumstances warranting intervention, the Judge said, "what would be the exceptional circumstances in a given case is obviously a matter which would depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case, and it is not possible nor desirable to lay down the circumstances in which such jurisdiction can be invoked."
Mr. Justice Misra said his ultimate conclusion was that in a fit case, within the known parameters, it would be open to the High Court in exercise of extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 226 to interfere in such matters. According to him a "self-imposed restraint does not operate as an absolute bar. Depending upon the peculiar facts and circumstances of a given case, it is open to the High Court to entertain and interfere in matters relating to elections without relegating to the affected persons the more conventional remedy of election dispute."
People look to the State Election Commission to take all possible steps to protect democracy, and if there is any failure they expect the judiciary to intervene, of course within the parameters delineated, the Judge said.
"The unforgiving posterity is not expected to condone the lapse on the part of any Constitutional authority, including the judiciary, in such moments of crisis," he said.
© Copyright 2000 - 2006 The Hindu