HC quashes election held to Karnataka Medical Council, orders disciplinary action against returning officer
The petitioner moved the court seeking directions to the RO, who is the Joint Registrar of Co-operative Societies, not to act upon to the list of members of KMC as furnished by Council.
BENGALURU: Observing that the entire election is vitiated on account of the fraud played by the Returning Officer, who treated the entire process as his personal fiefdom, the Karnataka High Court quashed the election held to the Karnataka Medical Council (KMC) and directed to conduct re-election within an outer limit of six months.
Allowing the petition filed by Dr Ganchinamani Naganatha, 70-year-old Medical Practitioner from Kalaburagi, Justice M Nagaprasanna, at Kalaburagi Bench of High Court, passed the order that the final voters list published on January 10, 2020 by the Returning Officer (RO) is quashed and as a consequence of which, elections conducted to KMC on January 23, 2020 and results declared on January 25, 2020 also stand quashed.
The petitioner moved the court seeking directions to the RO, who is the Joint Registrar of Co-operative Societies, not to act upon to the list of members of KMC as furnished by Council and sought a direction for preparation of electoral list and conduct of elections in accordance with law.
Accepting it, the court directed the state and the KMC to work in tandem and conduct re-election strictly in consonance with the provisions of the Karnataka Medical Registration Act and the Rules from the stage of preparation of voters list bearing in mind the observations made in the order.
The court also directed the state government to entrust the disciplinary proceedings against Returning Officer D Pandurang Garag to the Lokayukta to avoid chances of protecting the RO by the government, because both the state and the RO have made submissions in unison and defended themselves mutually.
The Lokayukta shall conduct proceedings and submit report to the state government which shall consider the same and pass appropriate orders. This process should conclude within nine months, the court added, while referring to conduct of RO who on his own declared 37,298 voters to be eligible voters to vote in the elections over and above 42,014 voters given by the Council.
“It is beyond cavil, the action of the RO, is conceived in fraud and delivered in deceit. The defence that the RO seeks to put forth contending that he is innocent officer following the law is only a masquerade to cover up his fraudulent activity. This court cannot turn a blind eye to such fraudulent acts. It is, by now, too well settled a principle of law that fraud unravels everything and obliterates every solemn act,” the court observed.