The Supreme Court on Tuesday (November24) dismissed a petition challenging Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election as member of Parliament (MP) last year from the Varanasi constituency in Uttar Pradesh.
A dismissed Border Security Force (BSF) jawan, Tej Bahadur Yadav, who wanted to contest against PM Modi but failed to after his documents were rejected, had petitioned the court.
A three-judge bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice V Ramasubramanian delivered the verdict.
The Allahabad High Court had earlier rejected the dismissed BSF jawan’s petition against the Election Commission’s decision to reject his nomination papers.
Bahadur’s nomination from Varanasi constituency was rejected on May 1, 2019.
The judgment was reserved on November 18 after the court heard Bahadur’s lawyer Pradeep Kumar Yadav who alleged that he was not granted sufficient time by the returning officer (RO) to produce a certificate from the Election Commission of India stating that his dismissal from BSF was not on grounds of corruption or disloyalty. This is mandatory as anybody dismissed on these two grounds cannot contest elections for a period of five years.
The lack of this certificate had led to the rejection of Bahadur’s nomination.
On the other hand, PM Modi was represented in court by senior advocate Harish Salve who alleged that the petitioner (Bahadur) did not seek additional time from the RO and for the lack of the certificate, his nomination was rejected.
Bahadur lost his appeal before the Allahabad high court on December 6, 2019, against which he approached the apex court. He was sacked from the BSF in April 2017 after he circulated a video on the poor quality of food supplied to BSF jawans serving at the country’s frontiers.
The petition got registered in Supreme Court in March and was listed on two occasions — May 22 and November 4. On each occasion, Bahadur moved a letter for adjournment.
On November 18, when the matter came up for a third time, Bahadur yet again sought adjournment. The top court was upset by the conduct of the petitioner.
The CJI remarked, “Are you an exceptional case that we should keep granting you time. We get a feeling that you are abusing the process of this court.”
The bench refused to adjourn the case and said, “We are hearing you because respondent holds a unique office in this country, that of the Prime Minister. We don’t want this matter to be carried on like this.”
The Allahabad high court, while dismissing Bahadur’s petition, found that under section 81 of Representation of the People Act, he was neither a candidate nor an elector of Varanasi to challenge the election of the Prime Minister. Bahadur’s petition stated that he was an elector from Bhiwani, Mahendragarh parliamentary constituency in Haryana.