Lorho Pfoze becomes MP again as SC stays HC order

Lorho Pfoze becomes MP again as SC stays HC order

New Delhi (Agency): The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the order of Manipur high court quashing the election of Lok Sabha MP Lorho S Pfoze from the Outer Manipur parliamentary constituency on a Naga People’s Front (NPF) ticket.

The HC had in September quashed his election for filing a false affidavit and Houlim Shokhopao Mate, aka Benjamin Mate, of BJP was declared the new elected MP of the seat reserved for scheduled tribes. Pfoze rushed to the Supreme Court against the HC order. In an interim relief to him, a bench of Chief Justice U U Lalit, Justices Ajay Rastogi and S Ravindra Bhat stayed the operation of HC order. It directed that the MP can participate in parliament proceedings but restrained him from casting votes in the House. A single-bench of the HC had passed the order on a petition filed by Benjamin under the provisions of the Representation of People (RP) Act, 1951. In the 2019 electoral battle, Lorho had won with 3,63,527 votes and Benjamin had stood second with 2,89,745 votes.

In his petition, Benjamin had alleged that during the scrutiny of the polls, the returning officer had “abruptly and improperly” accepted the nomination papers of Lorho and alleged that Lorho had put various incorrect figures of his properties, including money and land, in his affidavit.

Mention may be made that in the Lok Sabha Election, 2019, the present MP, Lorho S Pfoze got 3,63.527 votes while Haulim Shokopao Mate got 2,89,745 votes. K James of ING was third securing 152510 votes.

Eight candidates had contested the election from the constituency. Haulim Shokopao Mate had filed an election petition at the High Court of Manipur claiming that the affidavit filed by the present MP during the election process had many defects.

According to the petition, the affidavit in Form 26 filed by the NPF candidate suffers from the following defects: He kept Column 5 of Para 4 of the affidavit as blank as nothing is

filled up in the relevant column; the gross total value disclosed by him at Para 7-A (iX) showing Rs. 52,23,704 for self and Rs. 2,35,648 for spouse are not correct an misleading thereby filing false affidavit; he failed to disclose vital material information in his affidavit pertaining to his non-agricultural lands and other interest in immovable properties despite having immovable properties at Kayinu village, Mao, Senapati District, thereby rendering his nomination as invalid and void: he failed to disclose relevant details for showing a sum of Rs 1,12,50,000 at Para 7-B(vi) of his affidavit, thereby filed a false affidavit: etc.

Accórding to the petitioner, the nomination paper fled by the first respondent should have been rejected by the Returning Officer however the RO improperly accepted the nomination thereby allowing him to contest the election. “Hence, the election of the first respondent to be the returned candidate is liable to be set aside, the petitioner submitted.

After hearing submissions from both parties, Justice MV Muralidaran, in a 150-page Judgment and order (CAV) passed on Wednesday said, “Consequent upon the findings that the election of the hrst respondent is declared as null and void, the petitioner is entitled to be declared as elected member of 2-Outer Manipur (ST) Parliamentary Constituency in the General Election to 17th Lok Sabha, 2019. (Courtesy: The Times of India)

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