HANDBOOKS


HANDBOOK FOR CANDIDATES

SCRUTINY OF NOMINATIONS


By whom scrutiny of nomination papers is held
Who may attend scrutiny of nominations
Reasonable facilities for examination of nomination papers
Objections which may be raised

1. You have filed the nomination paper and other candidates would have also done so. The next stage in the election process is the scrutiny of nomination papers by the Returning Officer. The Returning Officer is required by law to hold the scrutiny of all nomination papers received by him on the date fixed for scrutiny in this election time table issued under section 30 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

2. The scrutiny of nomination papers takes place on the day immediately following the last date for filing nominations. Thus, if today is the last date for filing nominations then tomorrow will be the date for scrutiny of nominations. But if tomorrow is a public holiday then the scrutiny of nominations will take place day after tomorrow provided it again is not a public holiday. In other words, scrutiny of nominations papers cannot be held as pointed out already on a public holiday.

By whom scrutiny of nomination papers is held:-The scrutiny of nomination papers can be held only by the Returning Officer. This function cannot be delegated by the Returning Officer even to an Assistant Returning Officer. There is only one exception, that is to say, an Assistant Returning Officer may be authorised by the Returning Officer to hold the scrutiny of nominations if, and only if, the Returning Officer is unavoidably prevented from performing the function relating to the scrutiny of nominations (see the provision to section 22 (2) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951).

4. Who may attend scrutiny of nominations:-

According to law only four persons in the case of each candidate may attend at the place where scrutiny takes place. These four persons are : (1) the candidate himself, (2) the candidate's election agent, (3) any one of the proposers of the candidate and (4) one other person authorised in writing by the candidate. Even if you have filed the maximum number of nomination papers from the same constituency namely four nomination papers and there are four or more different proposers, even then only one proposer can be present at the scrutiny. Thus only four persons for each candidate can be present, and if there are, say, for example, ten candidates who have filed nomination papers from a particular constituency then in all forty persons can be present at the scrutiny. It will be better for you if the fourth person to be authorised by you in writing at the time of scrutiny is a lawyer conversant with election law so that he may adequately protects your interests at the time of scrutiny. It will also be to your interests if you yourself can be present at the scrutiny.

5. Reasonable facilities for examination of nomination papers:- The four persons (including yourself) who can be present on your behalf at the time of scrutiny have a right to have all reasonable facilities for examining the nomination papers of all the candidates which are taken up for scrutiny by the Returning Officer. This is a valuable right for you and the three other persons who may be present along with you, namely, your election agent, one of your proposers and the person authorised by you.

6. Objections which may be raised : You should not raise any flimsy or technical objections in regard to any nomination paper. Similarly you or the person representing you should oppose any objection raised against your nomination on flimsy or technical ground. Section 36(4) of the Representation of the People act, 1951 clearly lays down that the Returning Officer shall not reject any nomination paper on the ground of any defect which is not of a substantial character. Rule 4 of the Conduct of Elections Rules 1961 lays down that the failure to complete or defect in completing a declaration regarding symbols in the nomination papers is not a defect of a substantial character. Therefore, if any of your opposing candidates raises any objection regarding a defect which is not of a substantial character you or any of the persons who may be present on your behalf may oppose it. It has already been pointed out that on the presentation of a nomination paper the Returning Officer will satisfy himself that the names and the electoral roll numbers of the candidate and his proposer as entered in the nomination paper are the same as those entered in the electoral rolls. The Returning Officer may not therefore reject your nomination paper on the ground of any misnomer or any inaccurate description or clerical or technical or printing error in regard to your name or the name of your proposer or any other person or in regard to any place mention in the electoral roll or nomination paper, etc., provided that such description in regard to any name and place is such as to be commonly understood. If at the time of scrutiny any objection is raised regarding such misnomer or inaccurate description etc., you may draw immediate attention to the proviso to section 33(4) of the Representation of the People act, 1951.

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