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The Supreme Court has held that a petition challenging the election of a candidate on the grounds of corrupt practices cannot be dismissed on ‘technical grounds’ or because of being drafted ‘clumsily’.

‘If a pleading on a reasonable construction could sustain the action, the court should accept that construction and be slow in dismissing an election petition lest it frustrates an action only on technical grounds,’ an apex court bench of Justice D.K. Jain and Justice T.S. Thakur said in a judgment delivered Tuesday.

The court further observed that ‘a charge of corrupt practice is no doubt a very serious charge but the court has to consider whether the petitioner should be refused an opportunity to prove the allegations made by him merely because the petition was drafted clumsily.’

The court said this while setting aside the Kerala High Court’s impugned order dismissing an election petition filed by Congress leader K.K. Ramachandran challenging the election of Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) candidate M.V. Sreyamskumar from the Kalpetta constituency in the 2006 elections to state assembly on grounds of indulging in corrupt practices.

Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Thakur said: ‘The averments set out the material facts and give sufficient particulars that would justify the grant of an opportunity to the appellant to prove his allegations. In as much as the high court found otherwise, in our opinion it committed a mistake.’

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