The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) to examine Samajwadi Party candidate from Varanasi Tej Bahadur Yadav's plea challenging the rejection of his nomination. The court told the poll panel to revert by Thursday with an explanation and reasons for dismissing his candidature from Varanasi in the Lok Sabha election.
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. He had filed his nomination papers on 29 April, but the RO 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. This, the RO held, was not in keeping with the terms of Section 9 of the Representation of the People Act 1951.
While dismissing his nomination, the RO also observed that his nomination papers did not include a certificate issued in the manner prescribed by the ECI to say that Yadav was not dismissed from the BSF for "corruption or disloyalty to the State".
BSF dismissed Yadav from service in 2017 allegedly for making false complaints about the quality of food served to soldiers on duty.
In his petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution of India through advocate Prashant Bhushan, Yadav asserted that he had produced his dismissal order along with his nomination papers, which showed that he was dismissed for alleged indiscipline, not corruption or disloyalty. Therefore, he has argued that his case was not covered by Section 9 of the 1951 Act, and hence, an EC certificate under Section 33 (3) of the Act was not required.
Yadav also complained that he was not given sufficient time to produce the certificate, as the show cause notice issued to him on 30 April at 6 pm required him to submit the certificate by 11 am the next day.
"It seems the impugned decision was made keeping in mind the sensitivity of the contest in Varanasi constituency and to give a walkover to the candidate of the ruling party by disqualifying the petitioner, whose candidature was gaining momentum and was also supported by the main Opposition alliance of two major political parties in the state," Yadav's petition states, calling the rejection "arbitrary, erroneous and mala fide", Live Law reported.
Yadav said he had decided to approach the Supreme Court directly "in view of the abject failure of the Election Commission of India in exercising its constitutional power to ensure free and fair elections" and also against the "total arbitrariness" of the RO in disqualifying him from contesting the general election from Varanasi.
The former BSF soldier had initially announced that he will take on Modi in Varanasi as an Independent candidate. However, the Samajwadi Party later announced its support to him and fielded him as its candidate.
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Updated Date: May 08, 2019 13:31:40 IST