Tripunithura poll case: Setback for K Babu as SC upholds HC order favouring Swaraj's plea

M Swaraj and K Babu. Photo: File/ Manorama

Kochi: MLA K Babu faced a major setback on Monday after the Supreme Court allowed the Kerala High Court to continue trial proceedings in the case filed by M Swaraj. The court also clarified that the CPM leader's plea against the election was maintainable.

The apex court order came as it dismissed Babu's plea seeking to quash the High Court order that pronounced Swaraj's plea as maintainable. 

A bench comprising Justices Aniruddha Bose and P V Sanjay Kumar observed that the objections raised by Babu have no merits and that the High Court's order warranted no interference.

Swaraj, who lost to Babu in the 2021 assembly polls, approached the High Court seeking to declare the election of Babu null and void. The allegation against Babu is that he used corrupt practices that materially affected the result of the election by appealing to Hindu voters based on religion.

Babu had filed a plea before the High Court raising a preliminary objection that the election petition filed by Swaraj suffered from material defects due to non-compliance with the provisions of Section 81,82, 83 of the Representation of People Act, 1951 and ought to be rejected. The HC however decided to proceed with the trial of the election's main petition against Babu.

In its order dated March 29, 2023, the High Court refused to entertain the preliminary objection of Babu and initiated trial proceedings in the case to confirm whether Babu's election was null and void. 

It is alleged that Babu distributed slips to Hindu voters with the picture of Lord Ayyappa with an inscription that said "Your vote is for Ayyappa”.
(with Live Law inputs)

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