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'No merit in Tej Bahadur Yadav's petition': SC junks ex-BSF jawan's plea challenging EC order to reject his Varanasi nomination

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed the plea of former BSF constable and Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate Tej Bahadur Yadav challenging the rejection of his nomination from Varanasi parliamentary constituency.

"We don’t find any merit to entertain this petition," said a bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Rajan Gogoi.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Yadav, said, as per earlier verdict of the apex court, the election petition can be filed during enforcement of the Model Code of Conduct.

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the Election Commission, also referred to various apex court judgments and said election petitions can only be filed after polls are over as it would vitiate the electoral process.

At the fag end of the hearing, Bhushan sought liberty from the court to file an election petition after polling is over. "We have done what we could have done. We find no grounds to entertain this petition," the court said.

On Wednesday, the apex court had asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) to examine Yadav's plea challenging the rejection of his nomination. The court told the poll watchdog to revert by Thursday with an explanation and reasons for rejecting his candidature from Varanasi in the ensuing general election.

 No merit in Tej Bahadur Yadavs petition: SC junks ex-BSF jawans plea challenging EC order to reject his Varanasi nomination

File image of Tej Bahadur Yadav. News18

The former BSF jawan had challenged the decision of the Returning Officer to reject his nomination from Varanasi constituency, from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking re-election.

Yadav had filed his nomination papers on 29 April, but the  Returning Officer rejected his nomination on 1 May on the ground that he was dismissed from government service on 19 April, 2017, and there was no five-year gap from the date of his dismissal till the date of his nomination. According to the Returning Officer, this was not in keeping with the terms of Section 9 of the Representation of the People Act 1951.

While dismissing his nomination, the Returning Officer also observed that his nomination papers did not include a certificate deemed mandatory by the poll panel for people dismissed from government service. The certificate should state that the said person was not dismissed from service for "corruption or disloyalty to the State".

In his reply to RO's first notice of 29 April, Yadav had submitted that he was dismissed from BSF due to "indiscipline which is not covered under the election law and hence, a certificate from EC to that effect was not required," NDTV reported.

BSF dismissed Yadav from service in 2017 allegedly for making false complaints about the quality of food served to soldiers on duty.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: May 09, 2019 12:54:08 IST