SC reserves order on plea by sacked BSF constable

SC reserves order on plea by sacked BSF constable against rejection of election petition against PM Modi

A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian wrapped up hearing in the matter

Supreme Court. Credit: PTI Photo

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected repeated plea for adjournments and reserved its orders in an election matter against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"This is too important a matter to be adjourned so many times. The respondent occupies a unique office. He is the Prime Minister of India," a bench presided over by Chief Justice S A Bobde said.

The court wrapped up hearing on a plea by Tej Bahadur, a sacked BSF constable, against the Allahabad High Court's order that had dismissed his election petition against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

The bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, did not agree to repeated requests by petitioner's counsel for adjournments.

"We can't give you indefinite time to hear this case. You show us the evidence. Is it so important to take a pass over in the case? The adjournment has gone so long for three months in the case," the bench told advocate Pradeep Yadav, appearing for Tej Bahadur.

The court said it was hearing the counsel as the respondent was the Prime Minister here. The bench also pointed out that the matter had earlier been adjourned four times.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Modi, that this gentleman (petitioner) filed two nomination papers, one as independent and another for Samajwadi Party. In one, he said, he was dismissed from a job, and in another, he denied it, Salve added. 

Tej Bahadur's nomination papers were rejected as the Samajwadi Party candidate in Varanasi constituency in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

He challenged the validity of the High Court's judgement of December 6, 2019. The High Court has dismissed his election petition as having no locus and further that he was neither a registered voter nor the resident of Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency.

In a special leave petition, he contended that his nomination papers were rejected by the returning officer under "illegitimate pressure" from BJP. 

"The officer acted in an arbitrary manner and the High Court also committed a grave error by ignoring the fact when any person filed nomination in a constituency and his candidature has been rejected, then he has locus to file election petition," his plea contended.

The petitioner sought a direction to set aside the rejection of his nomination papers on May 1, 2019, and also action against the returning officer for misuse of his official powers. 

The petitioner was sacked from the BSF after a video in which he showed the alleged poor quality of foods served to jawans went viral on social media networking sites.