In a special sitting on Sunday, the Kerala High Court has sought the response of the Election Commission (EC) on the plea filed by two candidates of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), challenging the Returning Officers' decision to reject their nominations for the April 6, 2021, Assembly polls. The nominations of BJP's Kannur district president N Haridas and Mahila Morcha state president Nivedida Subramanian were rejected during scrutiny, on the ground that their papers did not have the signature of the party's state president, K Surendran.
On Sunday, the Election Commission opposed the pleas citing Constitutional provisions, contending that since the election process has set in, the intervention of the court was not warranted. Justice N Nagaresh directed the EC to submit its counter-affidavit on Monday and posted the petitions for further hearing at 12 noon.
BJP fielded Haridas and Nivedida as its candidates from the Thalassery constituency in the Kannur district and the Guruvayur constituency in the Thrissur district respectively.
In their pleas, they said that their respective Returning Officers should have given them time to rectify the nomination, which was not fatal.
In her petition, Nivedida contended that the Guruvayur Returning Officer was "absolutely authorised and arbitrary" in rejecting the nomination solely on the ground that the intimation in Form B of the Conduct of Election rules submitted at the time of scrutiny was belated. She submitted that the Returning Officer acted without jurisdiction, by ignoring Rule-4 of the Conduct of Election Rules, which clearly specifies that the defects in Form A or B are not fatal to the nomination. Seeking the intervention of the court, Nivedita claimed the action of Returning Officer was malafide and amounted to an abuse of power, which will stall the elections.
The nomination of BJP-ally AIADMK’s candidate RM Dhanalakshmi was also rejected at Devikulam in the Idukki district.