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HC validates victory of Sankarapuram civic chief
The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Thursday validated the victory of Devi, who contested for the post of president in Sankarapuram village panchayat, Karaikudi taluk of Sivagangai district and ultimately won after results were declared. Devi won as a candidate from the Congress party against Priyadarshini of the AIADMK during the local body polls held earlier.
Despite having won the contest by a margin of 62 votes, Devi was shocked and could not believe the victory of her opponent and hence moved the court and sought interim injunction on swearing of the panchayat president.
Petitioner Devi claimed that she contested the second phase of the polling on December 30, 2019, at the village panchayat, which has a total electorate of 22,599. Of these, 11,906 votes were polled as per record and the electoral authority declared her as winner at 8 pm on January 2.
Further, the petitioner stated that she bagged a total of 5,871 votes to her credit against her nearest rival Priyadarshini, who got 5,809 votes. After the results were declared, Devi was provided with the winning certificate. But much to the shock, Priyadarshini too was in possession of winning certificate on the next day. With the political influence of the ruling party, Priyadarshini managed to get such a winning certificate. While January 6, 2020, was scheduled for the conduct of swearing-in ceremony for the newly-elected president for this village panchayat, the petitioner had earlier sought the intervention of the bench to impose ban on the swearing-in ceremony at the village panchayat.
A Division Bench of Justice M Duraiswamy and Justice T Ravindran said as per dictum of the Election Commission, once a candidate was declared won and certified by the electoral authority, it was a valid victory. Further, such authority had no powers to certify another candidate as winner in the same contest. Hence, the bench declared the victory of Priyadarshini invalid.