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Law does not enforce impossibilities: High court

11 May, 2019

"Law does not enforce impossibilities."

This was observed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday late night while hearing one of its kind pleas seeking directions to the Election Commission to permit Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar's night stay in a Government Rest House in Jind. The Chief Minister was stuck up due to dust storm but in compliance of the Election Commission's guidelines he was denied permission by the Jind Deputy Commissioner-cum-Returning Officer.

The HC Bench compromising Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice HS Sidhu  observed, "There is no doubt, whatsoever, in our mind that these restrictions have been imposed by the Election Commission to strengthen the democracy and to hold the elections in a transparent and fair manner. It is a fit case, where the principle of lex non cogit ad impossibilia would be attracted. In other words, law does not enforce impossibilities."

According to the the writ petition filed by Haryana CM's ADC Rajneesh Garg on late Friday evening, Khattar was scheduled to fly back by a private helicopter from Sirsa's Mandi Dabwali to Chandigarh. However, due to inclement weather conditions caused by dust storm, the helicopter could not take off.

Amid these circumstances,  Khattar decided to travel back to Chandigarh by road, however, the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Returning Officer, Jind, orally informed that the Chief Minister was not permitted to stay overnight in the Rest House at Jind or Narwana after 5 PM.

As per the petitioner, he also made a representation to the Chief Electoral Officer, Haryana as well as to the Election Commission of India, mentioning therein the extra ordinary circumstances, due to which Haryana CM could not fly from Mandi Dabwali to Chandigarh, however no response was received back.

Counsel for the respondents submitted before the HC that presence of political functionaries and party workers, who have been brought from outside the constituency and who are not voters of the constituency, should not remain present in the constituency as their continued presence after end of campaign period may undermine the atmosphere for free and fair poll.

After hearing arguments from both sides, the High court said that the respondents should have taken a common sense view by taking into consideration the entire facts and circumstances of the case, more particularly when all the facts were brought before the respondents.

"The court can take judicial notice of the fact that the weather had started packing up in the after-noon at Chandigarh. It would have been extremely difficult for the Chief Minister to travel distance of 340 Kms at one stretch", the HC Bench said.

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