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Former BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav has approached the Supreme Court challenging the decision of the Election Commission to reject his candidature to contest the Lok Sabha elections.
The petition was filed today. Yadav is likely to mention it for early hearing.
Tej Bahadur Yadav was fielded by the Samajwadi Party as its candidate from the Varanasi constituency, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is contesting from.
However, his nomination papers were reportedly rejected by the returning officer, citing his failure to submit a certificate that he was not sacked from the Army for either corruption or disloyalty. Yadav has challenged this rejection, contending that such a decision was taken to facilitate an easy victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The petition states,
“It seems the impugned decision 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 was gaining momentum and was therefore also supported by the main opposition alliance of two major political parties in the state.”
To buttress his case, Yadav has submitted that the Returning Officer failed to note that he had produced his dismissal letter while filing his nomination papers. The dismissal letter, Yadav highlights, clearly shows that he had been dismissed for alleged indiscipline and not for corruption or disloyalty to the State. Therefore, there was no requirement for any additional certification to prove that he had not been dismissed of corruption of disloyalty.
All the same, he was served a notice for the production of a certificate stating that he had not been dismissed for corruption of disloyalty. The petition further states that he immediately filed a representation with the Election Commission requesting for the grant of such a certificate. However, Yadav goes on to submit, the Returning Officer chose to reject his nomination after issuing a second notice in the matter, without waiting for the Elections Commission’s response.
In this backdrop, it is contended,
“Rejection of nomination under Section 36 of the Act of 1951 is not only erroneous, arbitrary and malafide but also shows failure of the Respondents in not invoking the constitutional powers under Article 324 of the Constitution of India, to remedy the present situation, for ensuring free and fair election including equal participation, rather acted unmindful to Rule of Law.”
Yadav has prayed that the Court stay the Returning Officer’s rejection of his nomination and that he be allowed to contest in the 2019 General Lok Sabha elections.
The former BSF jawan had caused a stir in 2017 for criticising the Army’s treatment of its own. He had uploaded a video on his Facebook account showing the poor quality of food served to the jawans at the border. This video had soon gone viral, with severe criticism coming in from various quarters regarding the BSF’s functioning. Consequently, an inquiry was ordered against Yadav, and his family had allegedly lost touch with him soon after.
His wife had then approached the High Court seeking a writ of Habeas Corpus, alleging that Yadav had gone missing. Yadav was later dismissed from service in April 2017.