Setting aside a single judge’s order in a case related to poll violence in Sedapatti Village Panchayat in Madurai, the Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) has restored the disposed petition on the grounds that the original order was passed ex-parte without given a chance to the respondent to defend himself.
Originally, an union councillor of the Sedapatti Panchayat Union, M Srinivasan, had moved the court submitting that he had contested for the post of panchayat vice chairman. A ward councillor Shanthakumari was his opponent in the elections. Srinivasan claimed that he secured 10 of the 18 votes, while his rival got seven votes. One vote was declared invalid. But Shantakumari refused to accept defeat and instead she allegedly tore the ballot papers in the presence of the other councillors. Subsequently, the presiding officer called off the election process.
Srinivasan had prayed the court to declare him elected for the post of vice chairman. Justice Tamilvannan had directed the State Election Commissioner to pass suitable orders declaring Srinivasan as elected to the said post and also ordered Shanthakumari to pay `50,000 to the SEC.
Aggrieved by the judge’s order, Shanthakumari filed an appeal. She contended that she was asked to appear before the court for hearing on January 2 this year, but before that date Justice Tamilvannan had disposed of the petition. Hence, she was not given a chance to prove her innocence. Accepting the argument, the bench set aside the order.