Written by Vidisha Mathur
In the recent case of Dr. Mandati Thirupati Reddy v Election Commission of India, the petitioner sought to direct the Election Commission to accept his nomination for the post of Vice-President of India. He approached the Apex Court under Article 32 and the Supreme court Division Bench rejected the plea.
Justice U.U. Lalit and Justice S. Ravindra Bhat stated clearly that the plea by Dr. Reddy cannot be entertained under Article 32. It is misconceived and is hence rejected.
The petitioner informed the court of his qualifications and read the eligibility criteria for the nomination – arguing that he was perfectly eligible.
The court went on to enlighten the petitioner by pointing out that many are qualified and many consider themselves suited for the post. But the law required nomination and the support of at least 20 Members of Parliament, which the petitioner did not have. To act on his plea would amount to some kind of mandatory injunction against the Party functionary to pressure them to support the candidate and MPs and public servants cannot be forced to do so.
The petitioner is eligible but cannot offer candidature without the support the law requires him to have.
It is also observed that Dr. Reddy had sought to contest the Presidential election through a similar petition that the Supreme Court had rejected. The vacation bench, constituted by Justice Surya Kant and Justice J.B. Pardiwali observed that the nomination paper of the petitioner did not comply with the requirements of Section 5B(1)(a) of the President and Vice President Elections Act.