New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Friday held as "void" the election of former law minister Jitender Singh Tomar to the legislative Assembly in 2015 polls for furnishing false information of his educational qualification in the nomination papers.
The court said the false declaration by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Tomar of his educational qualification that he obtained a valid LLB degree, and vocation has resulted in "inducement and thwarted free exercise of the electoral right of the voter".
Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said as a citizen and elector, "I would want the election of the candidate who had lied qua his/ her educational qualification and vocation, to be set aside."
Tomar is contesting the upcoming Delhi Assembly election to be held on 8 February and is likely to file his nomination from Tri Nagar constituency on Saturday.
The court said as Tomar was not a graduate and not eligible for three years LLB programmes, his law degree cannot exist and axiomatically his enrolment with the Bar Council of Delhi is null and void.
The court passed the 40-page judgement on a plea by BJP leader Nand Kishore Garg alleging that Tomar's 2015 election had been "materially affected by deliberate concealment, misrepresentation, wrong declaration and wilful suppression of the educational qualification in the affidavit filed along with the nomination form".
Garg had contested against Tomar in the 2015 legislative assembly polls.
The court held that Tomar had "published statements of fact which were false and which he did not believe to be true in relation to his educational qualifications and to unduly influence the voters/electors in his election and which act of the respondent no.1 (Tomar) amounts to a corrupt practice."
"Resultantly, in my opinion, the result of the election of the respondent No.1 to the Legislative Assembly of NCT of Delhi from AC 16, Tri Nagar Constituency, in the General Elections to the Legislative Assembly of NCT of Delhi held in the year 2015 has been materially affected by improper acceptance of the nomination of the respondent No.1 and by a corrupt practice committed in the interest of the respondent No.1 by the respondent No.1 and the election of the respondent No.1 is thus void...
"I accordingly declare so and allow the Election Petition." the judge said.
The court said the AAP leader has not obtained the law degree lawfully and he was not duly enrolled as an advocate at the time of filing his nomination. It held that his nomination was improperly accepted.
It further said Garg was successful in proving that Tomar's claim of being a graduate in two years B.Sc programme of Avadh University was also fabricated.
The court said owing to Tomar being not a graduate and not eligible for three years LLB programme of TMBU, the LLB degree obtained by him also cannot exist and axiomatically the enrolment with the Bar Council of Delhi obtained by him on the basis thereof, is null and void.
"On first principles, without adverting to law, I, as an elector, would feel cheated if the candidate I vote for and who is elected, is ultimately found to have made a false representation while canvassing his candidature and particularly qua his / her educational qualification and profession/vocation," the judge said.
The court observed, "Educational qualification and vocation/profession is a significant part of one's persona. A person is assessed by others, in the initial interaction, by his / her educational, qualification and vocation and only after making an initial breakthrough, may in the course of subsequent interactions, be assessed by other facets of his / her persona.
"However without the initial breakthrough, there would be no opportunity to interact, to be judged on other parameters. In an election, a candidate cannot possibly have long interactions with electors/voters, and initial breakthrough is of utmost importance."
It said the election is purely and simply a statutory right and once Tomar is found to have been elected in violation of the statute, he cannot be permitted to remain elected.
"Moreover, need to maintain the purity of the stream of elections is the need/right, not only of the petitioner but of the other citizens as well and once it is found that the respondent no.1 has secured his election by violating the statute, the election cannot be permitted to stand, irrespective of whether the petitioner who has challenged the election is estopped from doing so," the court held.
It said unless Tomar felt that he would be able to influence the electors to vote in his favour by representing himself to be an advocate, there was no need for him to say so and he could have claimed to be having the qualification of senior secondary school certificate which he alone held.
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Updated Date: Jan 17, 2020 19:55:08 IST