Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)
HC DISMISS PLEA CHALLENGING ELECTION OF UNION MINISTER CHOUDHARY
JODHPUR: The Rajasthan high court on Tuesday dismissed a petition challenging the election of the BJP candidate from the Barmer parliamentary constituency, Kailash Choudhary, who is now the Union minister of state for agriculture.
Pankaj Choudhary, who was dismissed by the central government from the Indian Police Service (IPS), had filed the petition on February 19, 2019 after his nomination was rejected from the Barmer parliamentary constituency. The petitioner sought quashing of the returning officer’s order rejecting his nomination and declaring the election of Kailash Choudhary void. The returning officer rejected the nomination of the petitioner after scrutiny on April 10, 2019, stating that Choudhary had not submitted the certificate issued by the Election Commission of India (ECI) along with the documents. According to the Representation of the People Act, 1951, a person who having held an office under the central or state government has been dismissed for corruption or for disloyalty to the State shall be disqualified from contesting polls for a period of five years from the date of such dismissal. A certificate issued by the Election Commission to the effect that a person having held office under the Centre or state, has or has not been dismissed for corruption or for disloyalty to the State shall be conclusive proof of the fact.
The petitioner contended that he was eligible to obtain the ECI certificate and had applied for it, but despite repeated reminders, the ECI did not issue the certificate until the last date of nomination.
Justice Arun Bhansali, while dismissing the plea, said, “The entire emphasis laid by the petitioner seeking to allege mala fides against the ECI in not issuing the requisite certificate in time and to claim that as the Returning Officer is representative of the ECI, they cannot take benefit of their own wrong, is of no consequence as while trying the election petition under the provisions of the Act, the said aspect essentially, cannot be determined by this Court. The jurisdiction of this Court in the present case is confined to examine as to whether the nomination of the petitioner was wrongly rejected. Allegations made against the ECI, cannot come to the aid of the petitioner.”
He said, “It is apparent that in view of the express provisions of Section 33(3) of the Act, for lack of requisite certificate issued by the ECI, the petitioner was disqualified to contest the election and, therefore, it cannot be said that the Returning Officer wrongly rejected the nomination of the petitioner for Barmer parliamentary constituency.”