The Supreme Court has held that the limitation period of 45 days for filing an election petition starts from the date of election of the victorious candidates in case of unopposed contest.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice YK Sabharwal dismissed the petitions filed by three candidates whose nomination papers were rejected leading to unopposed election of three MLAs in the Sikkim assembly election held in 2004.
The court said that if the limitation period is counted from the date of declaration of results as mentioned in the election notification and not from the specific date when a candidate is declared elected uncontested, then it would make "the starting point of limitation uncertain, indefinite and fluctuating".
"When a defeated candidiate or an elector has grievance against an act of declaring a particular candidate successful at the election, his cause of action arises as soon as such declaration is made," Justice CK Thakker, writing the judgement for the Bench, said.
The notification for the assembly election was issued on March 16, 2004 and the date of counting and decleration was fixed as May 17, 2004. The nomination paper of the petitioners were rejected leading to unopposed election of three MLAs in the assembly on April 24, 2004.
The three agrieved party approached the High Court challenging the elections on June 25, 2004. But considering important questions of law involved in this matter the High passed an order seeking interference of the Supreme Court.