Sacked BSF Jawan Tej Bahadur’s SC challenge to Narendra Modi’s election from Varanasi dismissed

The Supreme Court Tuesday dismissed the appeal filed by sacked Border Security Force (BSF) Jawan Tej Bahadur challenging the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Bahadur had approached the top court against the decision of the Allahabad High Court dismissing his election petition that had arisen after his nomination was rejected by the Returning Officer.

A bench led by Chief Justice of India, S A Bobde rejected Bahadur’s contention that he was nominated as a candidate at the Varanasi constituency and thus his election petition was maintainable.

(LtoR)- Justice A S Bopanna, CJI S A Bobde and Justice V. Ramasubramanian.

The bench which also comprised Justice A S Bopana and  V. Ramasubramanian said it was not in dispute that Bahadur’s nomination paper was not accompanied by a certificate from the Election Commission; further, he was served a notice to cure the defect and he did not do so.

It is settled law that for a person to make a claim that he was duly nominated, his nomination paper must comply with the statutory requirements that govern the filing of nomination papers and not otherwise, the bench added.

The court referred to Section 83 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 which allows only an elector or candidate to maintain an election petition. Impliedly, the court held, it barred any other person from filing an election petition.

It also said that the requirement of Section 33(3) of the 1951 Act, that a nomination of a dismissed officer must be accompanied by a certificate that he was not dismissed on the ground of corruption or disloyalty to the State, must be read as obligatory.

The bench added that Section 81 of the Act provided that an election petition may be presented by (a) any elector or (b) any candidate at such election. It, thus, noted that Tej Bahadur was not an elector registered in the Varanasi constituency since he had admittedly enrolled as an elector in Bhiwani, Mahendragarh Parliamentary Constituency.

Earlier the Allahabad High Court had dismissed his election petition on the ground that he had no locus to challenge the election of the respondent from the Varanasi Parliamentary Constituency since he was neither an elector for such constituency nor a candidate.

The Returning Officer rejected his nomination papers as Samajwadi Party party candidate on May 1, 2019 on the ground that it was not accompanied by a certificate from the Election Commission that his dismissal from service was not on the ground of corruption or disloyalty to the State.

He was sacked from service after he released a video in 2017 complaining about the quality of food served to soldiers.

Senior advocate Harish Salve represented PM Modi and the petitioner was represented by advocate Pradeep Kumar Yadav.

Read the Order