SC dismisses Tej Bahadur's nomination plea

SC dismisses Tej Bahadur's nomination plea

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a plea by Tej Bahadur, a sacked head constable of BSF, against cancellation of his nomination papers from Varanasi Parliamentary Constituency.

He was pitted against Prime Minister Narendra Modi who sought to retain the seat as current MP.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna found no merit in the petition filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan.

"We found no ground to entertain the petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution," the bench said, as Bhushan submitted the dismissal should not come in the way of him filing an election petition.

The court had on Wednesday asked the EC to go through Tej Bahadur's petition.

He sought issuance of an order for quashing of May 1 order by Returning Officer, rejecting his nomination paper from Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency.

His plea said he was dismissed due to indiscipline which was not covered under Section 9 of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 and therefore there was no requirement for him to furnish certificate as contemplated under Section 33 (3) of the Act of 1951.

He claimed the decision to cancel his nomination “has been taken keeping in mind the sensitivity of the contest in Varanasi Constituency and to give walkover to the candidate of the ruling party by disqualifying the petitioner whose candidature has been gaining momentum and was therefore also supported by the main opposition alliance of two major political parties in the state”.

The head constable was sacked on April 19, 2019. His video complaining about poor quality of food served during his postings in Kashmir has gone viral on social media, causing huge embarrassment to the government.

Tej Bahadur, who got support from Samajwadi Party as well as BSP, in his petition, claimed that the nomination papers filed on April 29 were rejected on the ground of his failure to furnish a certificate to the effect that he has not been dismissed for corruption or disloyalty to the state.

He contended that the Returning Officer acted "unmindfully and insisted" for producing certificate in terms of Section 9 and Section 33 (3) of the Act of Representation of People Act 1951. The officer failed to appreciate that such certificate was not required, where the person so filing nomination, was not dismissed from service on the ground of corruption and disloyalty.