SC: safeguarding purity of election process is court's duty

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New Delhi, Nov 27 (UNI) The Supreme Court has held that it is the bounden duty and obligation of the court to ensure that purity of election process is fully safeguarded and maintained in the interest of democracy.

A bench comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Harjit Singh Bedi, while dismissing the appeal of Baldev Singh Mann observed, ''in a democratic country, the will of the people is paramount and the election of elected candidate should not be lightly interfered with.'' ''At the same time, it is also the bounden duty and obligation of the court to ensure that purity of election process is fully safeguarded and maintained,'' the bench observed.

Mann, a Shiromani Akali Dal candidate, who had lost the 2002 Assembly elections to an Independent candidate Surjit Singh Dhiman from 87-Dirba assembly constituency in Punjab by a margin of less than 1000 votes, challenged the election of Dhiman on the grounds that he had indulged in corrupt practices by taking the help of two government servants.

Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissed his election petition and the Supreme Court has now dismissed his appeal saying, ''after carefully reassessing and revaluating the entire evidence on record, the Court is in agreement with the decision taken by the High Court, and the appeal being devoid of any merit is acordingly dismissed.'' UNI SC SLD RP HS1944

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