Chennai: Election Commission on Wednesday took a tough stand against DMK president M Karunanidhi’s petition in the Madras High Court to quash an election complaint against him, saying the former chief minister has to prove his innocence during the trial.
P Parameswaran, the then Returning Officer of Tiruvarurconstituency, where Karunanidhi won in the May 2011 assembly polls, had lodged a petition in the Magistrate Court in Tiruvarur in December last year seeking his prosecution for non-furnishing of full particulars of his properties while filing nomination.
The Magistrate who took cognizance of the complaint, issued summons to Karunanidhi to appear before him on March seven.
This was challenged by Karunanidhi in the Madras High Court on February 17 contending that the Returning Officer seizes from the post immediately after the poll process is over and results are declared, the Election Commission has not decided to prosecute him and the the complaint was made late and lapsed the mandatory period.
The Court then stayed all further proceedings against himbesides dispensed with his personal appearance in the case.
Senior counsel for ECI G Rajagopal in his submission today said Revenue Divisional Officer performs his duties as Election Officer during elections and continued to perform his duty in filing cases and appearing in courts in cases related to elections.
Hence the officer is the Returning officer during the non-election period also, he contented.
He submitted that ECI received the complaint in April last year and after verification, it directed the Returning Officer to file the complaint in July which was filed by the officer in December 2013. Since the complaint was filed within one year from the date of Knowledge of the omission by Karunanidhi.
The complaint is not barred by time the counter said.
Karunanidhi could prove his innocence during the trial of the case, he said. Justice CT Selvam adjourned the case by a week.