PLEADINGS IN ELECTION MATTERS

Jojy George Koduvath.

Abstract

  • Election Petition is not an Action at Common Law, Nor in Equity
  • Trial of Election Petition is Different from Trial of a Civil Suit
  • Election Law – Technical to Safeguard the Purity of the Election Process
  • Strict Pleading; and Evidence in Strict Adherence to Pleading
  • Pleading and Affidavit in Election Cases – to prevent fishing or roving enquiry
  • No wild goose chase allowed
  • Pleadings and Issues are to Narrow the Area of Conflict
  • No Adjudication, If No Issue
  • Objectionable part of the Speech ought to have Pleaded
  • No pleading in respect of the ‘remaining 4 tendered votes’
  • No Amendment of pleading After the Time Limit
  • Evidence led, without objections – Court could evaluate Worth of that evidence.

Code of Civil Procedure 1908

Order VI, rule 1 and 2 of Code of Civil Procedure 1908 lay down the basics of pleading. They read as under:

  • Rule 1: Pleading: “Pleading” shall mean plaint or written statement.
  • Rule 2: Pleading to state material facts and not evidence:
  • (1) Every pleading shall contain, and contain only a statement in a concise form of the material facts on which the party pleading relies for his claim or defence as the case may be, but not the evidence by which they are to be proved.
  • (2) Every pleading shall, when necessary, be divided into paragraphs, numbered consecutively, each allegation being, so far as is convenient, contained in a separate paragraph.
  • (3) Dates, sums and numbers shall be expressed in a pleading in figures as well as in words.

Order 6 rule 4 of the Civil Procedure Code stipulates guidelines for precise pleadings. Order 6 Rule 4 CPC reads as under:

  • “Rule 4. Particulars to be given where necessary: In all cases in which the party pleading relies on any misrepresentation, fraud, breach of trust, willful default, or undue influence and in all other cases in which particulars may be necessary beyond such as are exemplified in the forms aforesaid, particulars (with dates and items if necessary) shall be stated in the pleading.”

Order VIII Rule 3, 4 and 5 CPC reads as under:

  • Rule 3: Denial to be specific: It shall not be sufficient for a defendant in his written statement to deny generally the grounds alleged by the plaintiff, but the defendant must deal specifically with each allegation of fact of which he does not admit the truth, except damages.
  • Rule 4: Evasive denial: Where a defendant denies an allegation of fact in the plaint, he must not do so evasively, but answer the point of substance. Thus, if it is alleged that he received a certain sum of money, it shall not be sufficient to deny that he received that particular amount, but he must deny that he received that sum or any part thereof, or else set out how much he received. And if an allegation is made with diverse circumstances, it shall not be sufficient to deny it along with those circumstances.
  • Rule 5: Specific denial: (1) Every allegation of fact in the plaint, if not denied specifically or by necessary implication, or stated to be not admitted in the pleading of the defendant, shall be taken to be admitted except as against a person under disability :
  • Provided that the Court may in it discretion require any fact so admitted to be proved otherwise than by such admission.
  • (2) Where the defendant has not filed a pleading, it shall be lawful for the Court to pronounce judgment on the basis of the facts contained in the plaint, except as against a person under a disability, but the Court may, in its discretion, require any such fact to be proved.
  • (3) In exercising its discretion under the proviso to sub-rule (1) or under sub-rule (2), the Court shall have due regard to the fact whether the defendant could have, or has, engaged a pleader.
  • (4) Whenever a judgment is pronounced under this rule, a decree shall be drawn up in accordance with such judgment and such decree shall bear the date on which the judgment was pronounced.

Under Order 6 rule 4, CPC, vague or general allegations are insufficient in pleading with respect to the matters laid down in this rule(f.n. 1) and it requires ‘full‘ particulars of such matters in pleadings(f.n. 2).

Why ‘Particulars’ insisted in Pleadings

  • 1. To narrow down the controversy to precise issues: Ladli Prashad Jaiswal v. Karnal Distillery, Co., AIR 1963 SC 1279; Kalyan Singh Chouhan v. C.P.Joshi, AIR 2011 SC 1127; K. Anil Kumar v. Ajith, ILR 2012-4 Ker 632: 2012-4 KLT 545.
  • 2. Notice to other side and ‘protect the party charged with improper conduct from being taken by surprise’: Ladli Prashad Jaiswal. v. Karnal Distillery, Co., AIR 1963 SC 1279; Ram Sarup Gupta v. Bishun Narain Inter College, AIR 1987 SC 1242.  
  • 3. Definiteness to the stance in court. Strictness in pleading ‘material facts’ is adopted in the procedural law also with a view to prevent a party from taking a changed position (from what he had taken at the time of making the pleading) to suit the situation that may be emerged subsequently, and thereby prejudice the other party. 
  • 4. It is court that draws inference as to ‘abstract’ propositions. Plaint should contain plain facts; not law. Presentation of pleadings in mere ‘abstract’ propositions (like: injury, damages, illegality, trust, bias) is improper. Law requires pleading of “material facts” (rule 2 of Order VI) and “particulars” (rule 4 of Order VI). Facts that lead to such inferences must be pleaded in clear terms; and it is for the court to draw a reasonable inference as to such ‘abstract’ propositions or inferences from the facts pleaded and established. (See pleadings as to mere ‘mala fide‘, without details – M. Sankara-narayanan, IAS v. State of Karnataka. AIR 1993 SC 763, Coal India Ltd. v. Ananta Saha, 2011-5 SCC 142; pleadings as to mere ‘consent‘ of a candidate with respect to a corrupt practice, without details – Balan v. Manoharan Master, 1988 (1) KLT 717.
  • 5. Pleadings must be pregnant enough to produce an issue on fact or law, and conduct an investigation (if opposite side varies), inasmuch as a bald and general allegation cannot be sufficient to lead to an issue (K.S. Mariyappa v. K.R. Siddalinga Setty, AIR 1989 Kar 425). General allegations insufficient to take notice by the court, however strong the allegation is (AIR 1977 SC 615).
  • 6. Pleadings constitute the skeleton that give shape to the case. For every motion, including drawing adverse inference for non-production of a document, lack of bonafides etc., the court has to apprise the pleadings (Union of India v. Ibrahim Uddin, (2012) 8 SCC 148).

If no specific pleadings, no evidence can be looked into

In the absence of specific pleadings, no evidence can be looked into in relation thereto.

  • Duggi Veera Venkata Gopala Satyanarayana Vs. Sakala Veera Raghavaiah (1987) 1 SCC 254;
  • Sri Venkataramana Devaru Vs. State of Mysore & Ors. AIR 1958 SC 255;
  • Bhagwati Prasad Vs. Chandramaul, AIR 1966 SC 735
  • Gajanan Krishnaji Bapat Vs. Dattaji Raghobaji Meghe (1995) 5 SCC 347;
  • Ram Sarup Gupta (Dead) By LRs v/s. Bishim Narain Inter College & Ors : (1987) 2 SCC 555.
  • Abubakar Abdul Inamdar Vs. Harun Abdul Inamdar AIR 1996 SC 112,
  • Gulabrao Balawantrao Shinde Vs. Chhabubai Balawantrao (2003) 1 SCC 212
  • Bondar Singh Vs. Nihal Singh (2003) 4 SCC 161
  • M Chandra Vs. M Thangamuthu, AIR 2011 SC 146. 

No party should be Permitted to Travel Beyond its Pleading

In Ram Sarup Gupta v. Bishun Narain Inter College, AIR 1987 SC 1242, it was held as under:

  • “6………It is well settled that in the absence of pleading, evidence, if any, produced by the parties cannot be considered. It is also equally settled that no party should be permitted to travel beyond its pleading and that all necessary and material facts should be pleaded by the party in support of the case set up by it. The object and purpose of pleading is to enable the adversary party to know the case it has to meet…. In such a case it is the duty of the court to ascertain the substance of the pleadings to determine the question.”

Trial of Election Petition is Different from Trial of a Civil Suit

In Kailash v. Nanhku, AIR  2005 SC 2441, our Apex Court held that the trial of an election petition is entirely different from the trial of a civil suit, as in a civil suit trial commences on framing the issues while trial of an election petition encompasses all proceedings commencing from the filing of the election petition up to the date of decision. Therefore, the procedure provided for the trial of civil suits under CPC is not applicable in its entirety to the trial of the election petition. For the purpose of the election petition, the word ‘trial’ includes the entire proceedings commencing from the time of filing the election petition till the pronouncement of the judgment. Relying on Kailash v. Nanhku it is observed in Kalyan Singh Chouhan v. C P  Joshi, AIR 2011 SC 1127, that the applicability of the procedure in Election Tribunal is circumscribed by two riders :

  • first, the procedure prescribed in CPC is applicable only “as nearly as may be”, and
  • secondly, the CPC would give way to any provisions of the Act or any rules made thereunder.

Therefore, the procedure prescribed in CPC applies to election trial with flexibility and only as guidelines.

Election Law – Technical to Safeguard the Purity of the Election Process

In Harcharan Singh v. S. Mohinder Singh, AIR 1968 SC 1500, our Apex Court pointed out that the election dispute was a statutory proceeding that required strict compliance, observing as under:

  • “The statutory requirements of election law must be strictly observed. An election dispute is a statutory proceeding unknown to the common law; it is not an action at law or in equity. …… The primary purpose of the diverse provisions of the election law which may appear to be technical is to safeguard the purity of the election process, and the Courts will not ordinarily minimise their operation.” (Quoted in Kalyan Singh Chouhan VS C. P.  Joshi, AIR 2011 SC 1127).

Election Petition is not an Action at Common Law, Nor in Equity

In Jyoti Basu v. Debi Ghosal,  AIR 1982 SC 983, also it was pointed out that an election petition was not an action at Common Law, nor in equity. The Supreme Court observed as under:

  • “A right to elect, fundamental though it is to democracy, is, anomalously enough, neither a fundamental right nor a Common Law Right. It is pure and simple, a statutory right. So is the right to be elected. So is the right to dispute an election. Outside of statute, there is no right to elect, no right to be elected and no right to dispute an election. Statutory creations they are, and therefore, subject to statutory limitation. An election petition is not an action at Common Law, nor in equity. It is a statutory proceeding to which neither the common law nor the principles of equity apply but only those rules which the statute makes and applies. It is a special jurisdiction and a special jurisdiction has always to be exercised in accordance with the statute creating it. Concepts familiar to Common Law and Equity must remain strangers to Election Law unless statutorily embodied. A Court has no right to resort to them on considerations of alleged policy because policy in such matters, as those, relating to the trial of election disputes, is what the statute lays down. In the trial of election disputes, Court is put in a straight jacket. …… We have noticed the necessity to rid ourselves of notions based on Common Law or Equity. We see that we must seek an answer to the question within the four corners of the statute.” (Quoted in Kalyan Singh Chouhan v.  CP  Joshi, AIR 2011 SC 1127).

Strict Pleading; and Evidence in Strict Adherence to Pleading

In Gajanan Krishnaji Bapat v. Dattaji Raghobaji Meghe, AIR 1995 SC 2284, our Apex  Court held that the court cannot consider any fact which was beyond the pleadings of the parties; and that the parties have to take proper pleadings and establish by adducing evidence that by a particular irregularity/illegality the result of the election has been materially affected. Our Apex Court, further, held as under:

  • “To say the least, it was not a desirable or a proper course to be adopted in an election petition where, as pointed out by this Court in Jagannath Vs. Jaswant Singh (1954 SCR 892), the statutory requirements of the law of election must be strictly observed.”

Pleadings play an important role – Section 83 of the RP Act mandatory and requires

Section 83 of The Representation of the People Act, 1951 reads as under:

  • “83. Contents of petition.—
  • (1) An election petition—
    • (a) shall contain a concise statement of the material facts on which the petitioner relies;
    • (b) shall set forth full particulars of any corrupt practice that the petitioner alleges including as full a statement as possible of the names of the parties alleged to have committed such corrupt practice and the date and place of the commission of each such practice; and
    • (c) shall be signed by the petitioner and verified in the manner laid down in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908) for the verification of pleadings:
      • Provided that where the petitioner alleges any corrupt practice, the petition shall also be accompanied by an affidavit in the prescribed form in support of the allegation of such corrupt practice and the particulars thereof.
  • (2) Any schedule or annexure to the petition shall also be signed by the petitioner and verified in the same manner as the petition”

It was held in Gajanan Krishnaji Bapat v. Dattaji Raghobaji Meghe, AIR 1995 SC 2284, as under:

  • “Since, pleadings play an important role in an election petition, the legislature has provided that the allegations of corrupt practice must be properly alleged and both the material facts and particulars provided in the petition itself so as to disclose a complete cause of action.  Section 83 of the Act provides that the election petition must contain a concise statement of the material facts on which the petitioner relies and further that he must set forth full particulars of the corrupt practice that he alleges including as full a statement as possible of the name of the parties alleged to have committed such corrupt practices and the date and place of the commission of each of such corrupt practice. This Section has been held to be mandatory and requires first a concise statement of material facts and then the full particulars of the alleged corrupt practice. So as to present a full picture of the cause of action.”

From S.N. Balakrishna v. George Fernandez, (1969) 3 SCC 238: AIR 1969 SC 1201, it comes out as to “concise statement of the material facts“, “set forth full particulars of any corrupt practice” and “as full a statement as possible“.

  • The election petition must contain a concise statement of material facts.
  • The word ‘material’ shows that the facts necessary to formulate a complete cause of action must be stated.
  • Full particulars of any corrupt practice should be set forth.
  • It must be including as full a statement as possible of the names of the parties.
  • The date and place of the commission of such practice is mandatory.
  • Omission of a single material fact may lead to an incomplete cause of action.
  • The function of particulars is to present as full a picture of the cause of action.
  • It must be with such further information in detail.
  • It is to make the opposite party understand the case he will have to meet.
  • There may be some overlapping between ‘material facts’ and ‘particulars’ but the two are quite distinct.
  • In the ‘particulars’, the name of the person making the statement, with the date, time and place will be mentioned.
  • The material facts thus will show the ground of corrupt practice.
  • It must also show the complete cause of action.
  • The ‘particulars’ will give the necessary information to present a full picture of the cause of action.
  • The fact which constitutes the corrupt practice must be correlated to one of the heads of corrupt practice.
  • Election petition without the material facts relating to a corrupt practice is no election petition at all.

Pleading and Affidavit in Election Cases – to prevent fishing or roving enquiry

In Gajanan Krishnaji Bapat v. Dattaji Raghobaji Meghe, AIR 1995 SC 2284, 1995 SCC (5) 347, it was held that a petition leveling a charge of corrupt practice was required, by law, to be supported by an affidavit and the election petitioner was also obliged to disclose his source of information in respect of the commission of the corrupt practice. This became necessary to bind the election petitioner to the charge leveled by him and to prevent any fishing or roving enquiry and to prevent the returned candidate from being taken by a surprise. (Samant N. BalakrishnaVs. George Fernandez and others (AIR 1969 SC 1201 was referred to.)

The Supreme Court observed in Kalyan Singh Chouhan v. CP Joshi, AIR 2011 SC 1127,  that during the trial of an election petition, it was not permissible for the court to permit a party to seek a roving enquiry.

In CR  Mahesh v.  R  Ramachandan, (2017 –  Kerala) it is held that specific pleading is necessary with regard to the corrupt practice in an election petition and in the affidavit under Section 123(4) of the R P Act, 1951. When there is no specific pleading to that fact, no specific denial is necessary and the above decision is not binding in this case.

Wide latitude cannot be left in the pleadings – No wild goose chase allowed

In Gajanan Krishnaji Bapat v. Dattaji Raghobaji Meghe, AIR 1995 SC 2284, 1995 SCC (5) 347, the impropriety is described as under:

  • “In the pleadings a wide latitude was left by the election petitioners to lead evidence on any of the various ‘possibilities’ detailed in the election petition. The ‘vagueness’ of the pleadings even after amendment shows that the election petitioners were out on a wild goose chase and trying to fish for evidence so as to be able to fasten some liability on the returned candidate or his election agent at least in some case.”

Pleadings and Issues are to Narrow the Area of Conflict

It is held in Kalyan Singh Chouhan v.  CP  Joshi, AIR 2011 SC 1127, that the pleadings are to help the court in narrowing the controversy involved and to inform the parties concerned to the question in issue, so that the parties may adduce appropriate evidence on the said issue. It is pointed out that it is a settled legal proposition that  ‘as a rule relief not founded on the pleadings should not be granted’ and emphasised that  a decision of a case cannot be based on grounds outside the pleadings of the parties. The pleadings and issues are to ascertain the real dispute between the parties to narrow the area of conflict and to see just where the two sides differ. The Apex Court expressly referred the following decisions:

  • Sri Mahant Govind Rao v. Sita Ram Kesho, (1898) 25 Ind. App. 195;
  • M/s. Trojan & Co. v. RM. N.N. Nagappa Chettiar, AIR 1953 SC 235;
  • J.K. Iron & Steel Co. v. The Iron and Steel Mazdoor Union, AIR 1956 SC 231;
  • Raruha Singh v. Achal Singh & Ors.; AIR 1961 SC 1097;
  • Ram Sarup Gupta v. Bishun Narain Inter College,  AIR 1987 SC 1242;
  • Gajanan Krishnaji Bapat v. Dattaji Raghobaji Meghe, AIR 1995 SC 2284;
  • Om Prakash Gupta v. Ranbir B. Goyal, AIR 2002 SC 665;
  • Kashi Nath v. Jaganath, (2003) 8 SCC 740;
  • Ishwar Dutt v. Land Acquisition Collector, AIR 2005 SC 3165;
  • Bachhaj Nahar v. Nilima Mandal, AIR 2009 SC 1103, and
  • State of Maharashtra v. Hindustan Construction Company  Ltd., (2010) 4 SCC 518.

Read Blog: Pleadings Should be Specific; Why?

No Adjudication, If No Issue

In Kalyan Singh Chouhan v.  CP  Joshi, AIR 2011 SC 1127, the Apex Court held that no courts decide a suit on a matter/point on which no issue has been framed. It is to ascertain/shorten the area of dispute and pinpoint the points required to be determined by the court, so that no party at the trial is taken by surprise. The court referred following decisions:

  • Sayad Muhammad. v. Fatteh Muhammad20 (1894-95) 22 Ind. App. 4 (PC)
  • Raja Bommadevara Venkata v. Raja Bommadevara Bhashya, (1902) 29 Ind. App. 76 (PC);
  • Siddik Mohd. Shah v. Saran, AIR 1930 PC 57;
  • Sita Ram v. Radha Bai, AIR 1968 SC 535;
  • Gappulal v. Thakurji Shriji Dwarkadheeshji, AIR 1969 SC 1291; and
  • Biswanath Agarwalla v. Sabitri Bera, (2009) 15 SCC 693.

With reference to the following decisions, in Kalyan Singh Chouhan v. CP Joshi, AIR 2011 SC 1127,   it was also pointed out that there may be exceptional cases wherein the parties proceeded to trial fully knowing the rival case and led all the evidence not only in support of their contentions but in refutation thereof by the other side; and in such an eventuality, it would not be permissible for a party to submit that the proceedings stood vitiated. The decisions were the following:

  • Nagubai Ammal v. B. Shama Rao, AIR 1956 SC 593;
  • Nedunuri Kameswaramma v. Sampati Subba Rao, AIR 1963 SC 884;
  • Kunju Kesavan v. M.M. Philip, AIR 1964 SC 164;
  •  Kali Prasad Agarwalla v. M/s. Bharat Coking Coal Ltd., AIR 1989 SC 1530;
  • Sayed Akhtar v. Abdul Ahad, (2003) (7) SCC 52; and
  • Bhuwan Singh v. Oriental Insurance Co., AIR 2009 SC 2177.

Objectionable part of the Speech ought to have Pleaded

In Balan v. Manoharan Master, 1988 (1) KLT 717, where a candidate said to have ‘consented’ a ‘corrupt practice’ in his speech, it was held that the objectionable part of the speech ought to have pleaded.

No pleading in respect of the ‘remaining 4 tendered votes’

The Supreme Court observed in Kalyan Singh Chouhan v. CP Joshi, AIR 2011 SC 1127,  that during the trial of an election petition, it was not permissible for the court to permit a party to seek a roving enquiry; and that the party must plead the material fact and adduce evidence to substantiate the same. In this case the issue raised was pertaining to 6 improperly received votes mentioned in the election petition. Though there was no pleading  either in the election petition or in the written statement a new matter in respect of the ‘remaining 4 tendered votes’ came up. The Supreme Court held that before the court permitted the recounting, the following conditions were to be satisfied:

  • “(i) The Court must be satisfied that a prima facie case is established;
  • (ii) The material facts and full particulars have been pleaded stating the irregularities in counting of votes;
  • (iii) A roving and fishing inquiry should not be directed by way of an order to recount the votes;
  • (iv)  An opportunity should be given to file objection; and
  •  (v) Secrecy of the ballot requires to be guarded.

The Court referred following decisions:

  • Dr. Jagjit Singh v. Giani Kartar Singh,  AIR 1966 SC 773;
  • Suresh Prasad Yadav v. Jai Prakash Mishra,  AIR 1975 SC 376;
  • M. Chinnasamy v. K.C. Palanisamy,  AIR 2004 SC 541;
  • Chandrika Prasad Yadav v. State of Bihar, AIR 2004 SC 2036;
  • Tanaji Ramchandra Nimhan v. Swati Vinayak Nimhan,  AIR 2006 SC 1218;
  • Gursewak Singh v. Avtar Singh,   AIR 2006 SC 1791; and
  • Baldev Singh v. Shinder Pal Singh, (2007) 1 SCC 341).”

Instances of Lack of Pleadings on Allegation of Hiring Vehicles

(i) Balwan Singh v. Lakshmi Narain, 1960 (3) SCR 91 : AIR 1960 SC 770 – Allegation of corrupt practice raised, inter alia, was of hiring or procuring vehicles. The date and place of hiring of vehicle and the names of the persons between whom the contract of hiring was settled were set out. Particulars that the hired vehicle was used for conveying voters to or from the polling station were also set out. Full particulars as to contract of hiring vehicles, as distinguished from the fact of hiring, had not been set out. Majority observed that the Section 83 was duly complied with.

(ii)  RM Seshadri v. G. Vasantha Pai, 1969 (1) SCC 27– Allegation was as to employing cars, hired and procured for the conveyance of the voters to the polling booths. It was contended by the returned candidate that the allegation was vague. Rejecting the contention, the Court held that it had been sufficiently pleaded and proved that cars were in fact used. In the opinion of the Court, “the rest were matters of evidence which did not require to be pleaded and that plea could always be supported by evidence to show the source from where the cars were obtained, who hired or procured them and who used them for the conveyance of voters.”

No Amendment of pleading After the Time Limit

In VS Achuthanandan v. PJ Francis, AIR 1999 SC 2044, it was held that material facts are preliminary facts which must be proved at the trial by a party to establish existence of a cause of action; and that no amendment of the pleading is permissible to introduce such material facts after the time limit prescribed for filing the election petition, the absence of ‘material particulars’ can be cured at a later stage by an appropriate amendment.

The Grounds for Directing a Recount of Votes

In Suresh Prasad Yadav v. Jai Prakash Mishra, (1975) 4 SCC 822, it is held as under:

  • “ The Court would be justified in ordering a recount of the ballot papers only where:
  • (1) the election-petition contains an adequate statement of all the material facts on which the allegations of irregularity or illegality in counting are founded;
  • (2) on the basis of evidence adduced such allegations are prima facie established, affording a good ground for believing that there has been a mistake in counting; and
  • (3) the court trying the petition is prima facie satisfied that the making of such an order is imperatively necessary to decide the dispute and to do complete and effectual justice between the parties.”

In Chandrika Prasad Yadav v. State of Bihar, (2004) 6 SCC 331, it is pointed out that it was well-settled that an order of recounting of votes could be passed when the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • “(i) A prima facie case;
  • (ii) Pleading of material facts stating irregularities in counting of votes;
  • (iii) A roving and fishing inquiry shall not be made while directing recounting of votes; and
  • (iv) An objection to the said effect has been taken recourse to.
  • The requirement of maintaining the secrecy of ballot papers must also be kept in view before a recounting can be directed. Narrow margin of votes between the returned candidate and the election petitioner by itself would not be sufficient for issuing a direction for recounting.”

Pleadings on the Petition for Recount of Votes

In M. Chinnasamy Vs. K.C. Palanisamy, 2003 (10) SCALE 103, our Apex Court held that it was obligatory on the part of the Election Tribunal to arrive at a positive finding that a prima facie case had been made out for issuing a direction for recounting holding. It is held as under:

  • “Apart from the clear legal position as laid down in several decisions, as noticed hereinbefore, there cannot be any doubt or dispute that only because a recounting has been directed, it would be held to be sacrosanct to the effect that although in a given case the court may find such evidence to be at variance with the pleadings, the same must be taken into consideration. It is now well-settled principle of law that evidence adduced beyond the pleadings would not be admissible nor any evidence can be permitted to be adduced which is at variance with the pleadings. The court at a later stage of the trial as also the appellate court having regard to the rule of pleadings would be entitled to reject the evidence wherefor there does not exist any pleading.” (Quoted to in: Chandrika Prasad Yadav v. State of Bihar, (2004) 6 SCC 331)

Degree of proof for recounting of votes – very high standard

The degree of standard of proof required for recounting of votes is very high. It is held in M. Chinnasamy v. K.C. Palanisamy, (2003) 10 SCALE 103, as under:

  • “The requirement of laying foundation in the pleadings must also be considered having regard to the fact that the onus to prove the allegations was on the election petitioner. The degree of proof for issuing a direction of recounting of votes must be of a very high standard and is required to be discharged. [See: Mahender Pratap vs. Krishan Pal and Others – (2003) 1 SCC 390]” (Quoted to in: Chandrika Prasad Yadav v. State of Bihar, 2004 (6) SCC 331).

Evidence led, without objections – Court could evaluate Worth of that evidence,

In Gajanan Krishnaji Bapat v. Dattaji Raghobaji Meghe, AIR 1995 SC 2284, 1995 SCC (5) 347, it is held as under:

  • “Of course, since evidence was allowed to be led, though beyond the pleadings without any objections from the opposite side, the court could have evaluated and analysed the same to determine the worth of that evidence.”

Foot Notes:

  1. Bishundeo Narain v. Seogeni Rai, AIR 1951 SC 280; Ladli Prashad Jaiswal v. Karnal Distillery, Co., AIR 1963 SC 1279; Subhash Chandra Das v. Ganga Parsad Das, AIR 1967 SC 878; Varanasaya Sanskrit Vishwavidalaya v. Dr. Raj Kishore Tripathi, AIR 1977 SC 615; Jai Parkash Power Ventures v. State of HP, ILR 2017-6 HP 210.
  2. Bishundeo Narain v. Seogeni Rai, AIR 1951 SC 280;  Raja Ram v. Jai Prakash Singh, AIR 2019 SC 4374; Ladli Prasad Jaiswal v. Karnal Distillery, Co., AIR 1963 SC 1279.

Read in this Cluster:

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