Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)


- Dinesh Bothra htraj@htlive.com

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.”

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