Supreme Court asks EC to look into grievances of ex-jawan

Challenges rejection of his nomination in Varanasi.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought the response of the Election Commission (EC) to a writ petition filed by sacked BSF jawan Tej Bahadur challenging the rejection of his nomination pa-pers by the returning officer of Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is contesting.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta after hearing counsel Prashant Bhushan for the petitioner asked the EC to take instructions in the matter and inform the court on Thursday.

In a writ petition Mr Bahadur urged the court to set aside the order passed by the returning officer on May 1 and to allow him to contest the polls scheduled for May 19.

He submitted that he filed his nomination papers on April 29 and he was asked to produce a certificate that he had not been dismissed from service either for corruption or disloyalty to the nation.

As he could not submit the certificate the next day, he rejected the nomination on the ground that he was dismissed from government service on April 19, 2017 and the five-year period from the date of such dismissal had not elapsed, in terms of section 9 of the Representation of the People Act of 1951.

The returning officer while passing the impugned order dated May 1, 2019 also observed that “the nomination paper is neither accompanied by certificate issued in the prescribed manner by the EC to the effect that he has not been dismissed for corruption or disloyalty to the state”.

The petitioner said he had submitted a reply to the notice dated April 29, 2019 stating that he was dismissed on April 9, 2017 due to indiscipline, which is not covered under Section 9 of the R.P. Act and therefore, certificate by the EC under section 33 (3) of the Act of 1951 was not required. Rejection of nomination under Section 36 of the Act of 1951 is not only erroneous, arbitrary and mala fide but also showed the failure of the EC in not invoking the constitutional powers under Article 324 of the Constitution to remedy the present situation, for ensuring free and fair election including equal participation, rather acted unmindful to Rule of Law.

In view of the abject failure of the Election Commission in exercising its constitutional power to ensure free and fair election and also total arbitrariness and malafide of the Returning Officer in disqualifying the Petitioner from contesting the Lok Sabha election, he has been constrained to approach this Court for relief, the petition said.

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