Returning officer failed to provide any justification about 30 missing votes
Srinagar, Jun 02: The additional divisional commissioner Kashmir has once again ordered re-counting of votes on Larnoo district development council seat in Anantnag district after Jammu & Kashmir High Court directed him to reconsider the appeal afresh and revisit the issues/ questions raised therein.
As per the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the additional divisional commissioner Kashmir, who has been designated as an authority for hearing election appeals, has ordered that district panchayat officer Anantnag to “recount the votes as per the norms in vogue so that the issue raised and observations of the Hon’ble Court are addressed and the election process gets culminated accordingly”.
On December 23, 2020, Khalida Begum(PDP) wife of Choudhary Gulzar was declared as winner against Sajida Begum( Independent) wife of Choudhary Haroon by seven votes.
Later, Sajida Begum approached the appellate authority with the prayer to set aside the election of Khalida Bibi.
The appellate authority disposed of the petition with the direction for re-counting of votes. Accordingly, during the counting of votes, Sajida Begum was declared winner by 61 votes.
Later, Khalida Bibi challenged the orders passed by additional divisional commissioner Kashmir and district panchayat election officer, Anantnag, regarding recounting of votes of Larnoo DDC constituency, Anantnag,
She also challenged the result of recounting and the certificate of election issued by the returning officer in favour of Sajida Begum.
Quashing the orders passed by additional divisional commissioner Kashmir and DPO, Anantnag, the High Court said, “The appellate authority should reconsider the appeal afresh and revisit the issues raised therein and decide the matter in accordance with the law and rules occupying the field, providing a reasonable opportunity of hearing to the parties.”
In his order, the appellate authority has pointed out that there is a difference of 30 votes between votes polled and counted.
“ …. After going through presiding officers’ dairies, total votes polled were 13023 and after scrutinizing the election result sheet total votes counted were 12993 leaving a difference of 30 votes,” reads the order.
The appellate authority said that the returning officer failed to submit a valid justification for variation in the number of votes when there was only a difference of seven votes between the winning candidate and the first runner-up—(KNO)