The Supreme Court took strong exception when an MLA adopted delay tactics in the High Court to ward off the threat of a Damocles’ sword hanging over his head.

The Court, in strong terms, condemned such tactics and held that it erodes the high democratic values.

An election petition was pending in the Manipur High Court against the returned candidate from Morang constituency, M Prithviraj of Congress (I), in the 2012 Assembly election.

The defeated candidate, P S Singh of NCP, alleged that Prithviraj had resorted to corrupt practices as laid down in the Representation of People's Act to win the election. He prayed that the election be set aside.

As per the Act, it was mandatory for the High Court to dispose the election petition within a period of six months. But here, the returned candidate had not even filed an affidavit answering the allegations raised by the petitioner. However, he had filed a series of interlocutory petitions to drag the case. The defeated candidate then approached the Supreme Court to get the election petition disposed of within the stipulated time.

The Supreme Court held that the intention of Prithviraj was only to prolong the case and by the time five years would be completed and that he need not bother at all.

When an election petition is pending, it will be a matter of anxiety for the candidate. He will make all efforts to answer the allegations and see that the court disposes of the petition so that the threat of Damocles’ sword will be over and gives him relief. But here, the returned candidate was not all bothered about the sword for he thought that the delay tactics he has adopted will come to his rescue.

The Supreme Court said that these tactics are thoroughly undemocratic and has to be curbed. The candidate getting elected has to uphold high values of democracy and has to abide by the Representation of People's Act to help the High Court to dispose of the petition within the stipulated period of six months.

The Supreme Court also directed the Manipur High Court to dispose of the election petition as early as possible.