Anvar P.V. v. P.K. Basheer & Ors
(2014) 10 SCC 473
In the Supreme Court of India
Civil Appeal No. 4226/2012
Before Chief Justice R.M. Lodha, Justice Kurian Joseph, and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman
Decided on September 18, 2014
Relevancy of the case: Admissibility of electronic records under Section 65B
Statutes & Provisions Involved
- The Information Technology Act, 2000 (Section 79A)
- The Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (Section 65A, 65B)
- The Representation of the People Act, 1951 (Section 100(1)(b), 123(2)(ii), 123(4))
Relevant Facts of the Case
- The complaint was an independent member who was supported by the Leftist Communist party. He secured the second position in the elections for the post of Eranad Legislative Assembly Constituency and the respondent who won the election had the support of the Indian National Congress and some other parties of United Democratic Front.
- On April 12, 2011, a member of the United Democratic Front who supported the respondent, published in his newspaper, an article with the clear intention of defaming the petitioner and increasing the chances of the respondent to win the election.
- An election petition was filed to declare that the petitioner is the elected candidate of Eranad assembly constituency and the respondent’s election shall be set aside and be void under Section 100(1)(b), 123(2)(ii), and 123(4) of the Representation of the People Act.
- On April 13, 2012, the High Court of Kerala rejected the election petition on the stand that the said allegation against the respondent could not be proved and thus, as per Section 100(1)(b) of the Representative of the People Act, the election cannot be set aside. Therefore, the petitioner filed an appeal in the Supreme Court of India.
Prominent Arguments by the Advocates
Mr. Vivek Chib, Counsel on behalf of the Appellant:
- It was submitted that the election is void as per Section 100(1)(b) of the Representation of the People Act, as according to the appellant, the act committed by the respondent was corrupt. The learned counsel also argued that the Annexure A was printed by a member who was active in the election publicities and with the support of the respondent. So, the respondent will be liable as per Section 123(2)(iii) and 123(4) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and the election result will not be considered.
Mr. Kapil Sibal, Counsel on behalf of the Respondent:
- Learned counsel for the respondent stated that the submitted electronic record by the appellant did not fulfil the requirements of Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act. So, it cannot be considered as relevant evidence. The CD produced in front of the court is not primary evidence and it does not satisfy the conditions given under Section 65A and 65B of the Indian Evidence Act. The learned counsel also argued that there was no evidence to prove that the respondent gave consent to print Annexure A except that he knew about it. As per Section 123(4) of the Representative of the People Act, the consent of the party was a major requirement and mere knowledge is not enough. Also, there were no efforts made by the appellant to prove that the printed bundles of the paper were kept in the respondent’s house.
Opinion of the Bench
- There was no proper evidence to show that the first respondent had given the consent for the distribution of Annexure A and it can only be assumed. The CD which is produced as evidence is not complying with the requirements mentioned under Section 65(B) of the Indian Evidence Act and thus it is considered as inadmissible. Since the main allegation of the respondent was based on the CD produced, the first respondent is not corrupt according to Section 123(4) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
- The election cannot be set aside as per Section 100(1)(b) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
- The appeal has no merit and stands dismissed.
This case summary has been prepared by Afsana Khan, an undergraduate student at Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad, during her internship with The Cyber Blog India in June/July 2020.