[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE Supreme Court today dismissed the petition of Samajwadi Party candidate and former Border Security Force soldier Tej Bahadur Yadav against the rejection of his nomination from the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency by the Election Commission of India (ECI).
A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi dismissed the plea saying, “We don’t find any merit to entertain this petition”
Varanasi is also Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency.
The former BSF soldier had filed his nomination papers on April 29, 2019, to contest the general elections from Varanasi. However, on the ground that he was dismissed from government service on April 17, 2017, the Returning Officer (RO) rejected his nomination on May 1, 2019, citing Section 9 of the Representation of the People Act 1951 which requires a five-year gap between the date of dismissal of the candidate and date of nomination.
Section 9 of the Representation of the People Act 1951 says:
- A person who has held an office under the Government of India or under the Government of any State has been dismissed for corruption or for disloyalty to the State shall be disqualified for a period of five years from the date of such dismissal.
- For the purposes of sub-section (1), a certificate issued by the Election Commission to the effect that a person has held office under the Government of India or under the Government of a State, has or has not been dismissed for corruption or for disloyalty to the State shall be conclusive proof of that fact: Provided that no certificate to the effect that a person has been dismissed for corruption or for disloyalty to the State shall be issued unless an opportunity of being heard has been given to the said person.
The RO while rejecting the nomination observed that as per the rules a dismissed central government employee must submit a clearance certificate to the ECI stating that he had not been sacked for “corruption or disloyalty”.
However, Tej Bahadur Yadav in his petition contended that his dismissal letter clearly showed that he had been dismissed from service “for alleged indiscipline and neither for corruption nor disloyalty to the State”.
Background of the case
Tej Bahadur was dismissed from the Border Security Force in 2017 for allegedly making complaints on Facebook about the quality of food served to BSF soldiers. This led to a court-martial enquiry against him and his subsequent dismissal on grounds of making false complaints on social media.
Yadav had initially announced that he would take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi as an independent candidate. Later, the Samajwadi Party announced its support for him and sought to field him as its candidate.