The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Election Commission to examine grievances raised by sacked BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav, whose nomination against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi was cancelled.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the counsel for EC to seek instructions and apprise it by tomorrow.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Yadav, referred to an earlier verdict to the court and said election petitions can be filed during the enforcement of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).
Yadav had moved the top court challenging the decision of Returning Officer (RO) to reject his nomination papers from Varanasi Lok Sabha seat, saying it was intended to “give walkover” to PM Modi.
The RO on May 1 had rejected the nomination papers of Yadav, a Samajwadi Party candidate, who was dismissed from BSF in 2017 after he posted a video online complaining about the food served to the troops.
The poll panel official held that Yadav failed to furnish a certificate as mandated under the Representation of Peoples (RP) Act to the effect that he has not been “dismissed for corruption or disloyalty to the state”.
Yadav has sought setting aside of RO’s decision and the apex court’s nod to contest elections from high-profile Varanasi seat where polling is slated to taken place on May 19.
The Samajwadi Party had initially fielded Shalini Yadav as its candidate to contest against Modi and later nominated the sacked BSF jawan.
While rejecting the nomination papers of Yadav, the RO had observed that “the nomination paper is neither accompanied by certificate issued in the prescribed manner by the Election Commission to the effect that he has not been dismissed for corruption or disloyalty to the state”.
“While passing the impugned order…the RO completely failed to appreciate that the Petitioner (Yadav) had produced his dismissal letter along with his nomination paper which clearly shows that he was dismissed from service for alleged indiscipline and not for corruption or disloyalty to state, as is provided under Section 9 and Section 33 (3) of the (RP) Act,” the plea had said.
Yadav, in his reply to RO’s first notice of April 29, 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, the plea said.
The RO issued a second notice on April 30 asking the Petitioner (Yadav) to submit the required certificate to the effect that he has not been dismissed for corruption or disloyalty to the state by 11 am on May 01.
“First of all…in the present facts of the case, there was no need to produce any certificate as Section 9 is not attracted at all. Secondly, this second notice asking for the certificate was served upon the Petitioner on April 30 at 6 pm. Thus, no sufficient time was given to produce the certificate,” the plea had alleged.
It had said Yadav had replied to the second notice to the RO by reiterating that the provisions of the RP Act were not applicable in his case.
Moreover, Yadav had told the RO that he had already sent a representation to the EC requesting it to furnish certificate as contemplated under the provisions of the RP Act, it had said.
“However, the RO of the Election Commission of India on that very day without waiting for the EC’s response to the Petitioner’s representation rejected the Petitioner’s nomination paper,” it had said.
Rejection of nomination was not only “erroneous, arbitrary and malafide” but also showed failure of the RO and the EC in not invoking the constitutional powers to remedy the present situation for ensuring free and fair election, it had said.