SC slaps Rs.50,000 cost on NCP MLA for case adjournment

New Delhi, Feb 27: The Supreme Court Thursday imposed a cost of Rs.50,000 on a Nationalist Congress Party legislator in Maharashtra for seeking adjournment of the hearing over a petition challenging his election.

The bench of Justice Surinder Singh Nijjar and Justice A.K. Suri granted the adjournment sought by Kisan Shankar Kathore but imposed a cost of Rs.50,000 on him because of the difficulties faced by disabled respondent Arun Dattatray Sawant while travelling to the court from his native place and also for staying in Delhi.

“He not only has difficulty in travelling to this court every time the matter is adjourned but also has to unnecessarily bear the expenses of staying in Delhi,” Justice Nijjar observeed.

Kathore had contested the 2004 Maharashtra assembly election as an NCP candidate.

Though he won and was declared elected Oct 16, 2004, the election was challenged by Sawant Nov 29, 2004, on the grounds that the returning officer improperly accepted the nomination papers.

The Bombay High Court Aug 16, 2007, set aside Kathore’s election.

The case was heard by the apex court Sep 21, 2007, when the high court order was put on hold by an interim order.

An appeal by Kathore challenging the high court order witnessed nine hearings from Sep 21, 2007, to April 23, 2009.

In the April 23, 2009, hearing, Kathore’s counsel submitted that the question regarding the width, amplitude and powers of the Election Commission under Article 324 of the Constitution has been referred to a larger bench for consideration and same would have bearing on his appeal.

All the parties said it would have some bearing on the outcome of the case. Thus, the hearing was adjourned to await the decision of the larger bench.

On Wednesday (Feb 26), Sawant urged the court to hear the matter Thursday but when it was called for hearing, a proxy counsel substituting for counsel of Kathore sought adjournment.