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Delhi HC issues notice in Raghav Chadha plea challenging election of BJP’s Ramesh Bidhuri

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court has issued notice in the plea filed by Aam Aadmi Party’s Raghav Chadha, challenging the election of BJP leader Ramesh Bidhuri to the South Delhi constituency.

In his petition filed through R Arunadhri Iyer, Raghav Chadha has also sought to be declared as the winning candidate from the South Delhi constituency.

Notice was issued to Bidhuri as well as the Bhartiya Janta Party by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Sanjeev Narula.

The Court has also directed the Returning Officer, South Delhi constituency to preserve the election record.

It is Chadha’s case that while filing his nomination, Bhiduri wilfully and intentionally concealed the factum of registration of an FIR against him in Muzaffarpur, Bihar, for the commission of offences under Sections 504, 506, 153 and 153(a) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. He thus failed to facilitate publication of criminal antecedents, as is required under the law.

The Court was informed that Chadha had raised the above objections with respect to the nomination paper filed by Bhiduri before the Returning Officer.

After Bhiduri responded that the antecedents of his criminal record would be published, the Returning Officer “arbitrarily rejected” the objections raised by Chadha and accepted Bhiduri’s nomination.

Chadha has claimed that such publication was never carried by Bidhuri or the BJP.

By not fully disclosing and or publicising the particulars of his criminal antecedents, Bhiduri has committed the corrupt practice of undue influence in the exercise of electoral rights of the citizens of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, Chadha has claimed.

It is also alleged that Bhiduri ex facie made false declarations in respect of his income, his spouse’s income, as well as the income of his dependent.

Chadha, therefore, argues that the Returning Officer erred in accepting the nomination of Bhiduri in spite of his wilful and intentional failure to comply with the mandates of the Representation of the People Act, the Rules made thereunder, as well as the directions of the Supreme Court of India in a series of judgments.

Invoking the citizens’ fundamental right to information about the election candidates and right to free and fair elections, Chadha has thus sought to set aside the election result declaring Bhiduri as the successful candidate from the South Delhi constituency.

In return, Chadha has sought to be declared as the “duly elected” candidate from South Delhi as he had secured the next highest tally of votes.

Chadha was represented by Senior Advocate Dayan Krishnan.

The matter will be heard next on September 2.

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