The resolution of election disputes in this country takes unacceptably long periods in most cases, which “reduces the adjudicatory process into a mockery of justice”, the Supreme Court today said while advocating setting up of benches in high courts to exclusively deal with election petitions.
“We are sad to state that invariably the resolution of election disputes in this country takes unacceptably long periods in most of the cases. Very rarely an election dispute gets resolved during the tenure of the declared candidate reducing the adjudicatory process into a mockery of justice.
“Such delay, coupled with a right of appeal to this Court, makes the whole process of adjudication a task in a good number of cases,” a bench of Justices J Chelameswar and Rohinton Fali Nariman said adding that it was desirable that in each High Court dedicated benches are created by the Chief Justice to deal with the election petitions exclusively.
“Those judges assigned with the adjudication of election petitions preferably may not be burdened with any other work until the adjudication of the election petitions is completed.
“An exercise which may not be difficult especially the class of litigation occurs only once in 5 or 6 years and the number of cases would be very limited. We are conscious of the fact that it is not possible for laying down any absolute rules in this regard.
“Essentially it is for a Chief Justice of the High Court to run administration and devise ways and means for expeditiously disposing of the cases brought before the High Court.
“We only gently remind that the kind of delay in the adjudication of election disputes exposes the High Court’s unpleasant criticism damaging the credibility of the institution, a situation which is certainly required to be avoided at any cost,” the bench said.
The observations came while hearing an appeal of Mohd Akbar who had approached the apex court against repeated adjournments in the Chhattisgarh High Court.
Akbar had challenged the election of one Ashok Sahu in 72-Kawardha Legislative Assembly Constituency on various grounds including the commission of certain corrupt practices.