A Maharashtra panchayat election issue is being heard in court due to a misspelled middle name.

Last year, a candidate who was disqualified from running for office won the Maharashtra panchayat election. She exploited a typographical error in the disqualification order. The Bombay High Court has now convicted her of fraud.

Last year, she won the Maharashtra panchayat elections in Solapur. However, the Bombay High Court has now ruled that she be prosecuted for fraud. The collector mistyped her middle name, and she capitalised on the error.

Nagarabai Palave is her name. In January 2021, she was elected to the Mandave village panchayat in the Malshiras Taluka of Maharashtra's Solapur from Ward No. 4.

Tanaji Palave, who was elected as a Panchayat Samiti member from Ward No. 5, disputed her election.

Tanaji Palave cited a 2016 order issued by the district collector, who also serves as the district election officer, that barred Nagarabai Palave from running for office for five years. When panchayat elections were held on January 15, last year, the election prohibition was still in effect.

The Bombay High Court has now asked the Solapur collector to take necessary action against Nagarbai Palave in accordance with the provisions of the Maharashtra Village Panchayats Act and other statutes dealing with deception and fraud.

Tanaji Palave's appeal was being heard by a divided bench of Justices SJ Kathawalla and MN Jadhav.

Sarang Aradhye, Tanaji Palave's counsel, told the court that Nagarbai Palave contested the election by misrepresenting facts and was elected.

Nagarabai ran in the election in 2016 but did not disclose her election costs within the time limit. The Malshiras tehsildar had filed an Election Dispute Application with the Solapur district collector, requesting that Nagarabai Palave be disqualified.

Two show-cause notices were issued, but Nagarbai Palave failed to provide the necessary information. The Solapur collector took severe action in the matter, disqualifying Nagarbai Palave.

However, Nagarabai Palave's complete name was shown as "Nagarabai Tanaji Palave" in that sequence.

With the announcement of a new election, she entered the race under the name "Nagarabai Jayawant Palave."

During the examination of election papers, the Election Returning Officer certified that the 2016 disqualification order was issued to "Nagarabai Tanaji Palave" and not "Nagarabai Jaywant Palave."

The police indicated that these two people were not the same. Nagarabai Palave was now eligible to run for office, and her nomination form was accepted.

Tanaji Palave's lawyer, Aradhye, claimed before the court that "Nagarabai Jaywant Palave" and "Nagarabai Tanaji Palave" were not two people, but rather two names that were spelled incorrectly to address the same individual.

The attorney maintained that no one by the name "Nagarabai Tanaji Palave" lived within the Mandave Village Panchayat's authority. Aradhye claimed that such a name does not appear on the village's election roll.

However, Maharashtra Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhkoni cited an affidavit made by the Solapur collector that claimed "Nagarabai Tanaji Palave" was disqualified rather than "Nagarabai Jaywant Palave." As a result, he requested that the petition be dismissed.

In response, the bench expressed surprise. It was determined that the entire community had only one Nagarabai Jaywant Palave. A certificate provided by the village Talathi (official) plainly states that there was no person named "Nagarabai Tanaji Palave" in the hamlet.

Similarly, the village panchayat's gramme vikas officer (village development officer) submitted a certificate stating that no one named "Nagarabai Tanaji Palave" had lived in the area in the previous 15-20 years.

The collector's summons were also issued in the name of "Nagarabai Jaywant Palave," according to the high court. It was only by chance that the collector's cause-title of the order showed the name "Nagarbai Tanaji Palave."

Based on the evidence presented, the Bombay High Court ruled that Nagarabai Palave had abused the error in her name being spelled "Nagarabai Tanaji Palave" in the cause-title of her disqualification decision of 2016. The Bombay High Court concluded that she had committed misrepresentation.