On 1 May 2019, the District Election Officer rejected the nomination of the former BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav as a Samajwadi Party candidate from Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency. Several persons have questioned this action of the Election Commission.
Varanasi is a VIP constituency since the Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a candidate from this constituency. It is being projected as if the nomination of Tej Bahadur has been rejected because of undue influence of the BJP Government or the ruling party.
However, a closer examination of the relevant legal provisions and the facts of the case show that his nomination appears to have been rightly rejected.
Section 9 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, lays down as under:
“9. Disqualification for dismissal for corruption or disloyalty.—(1) A person who having held an office under the Government of India or under the Government of any State has been dismissed for corruption or for disloyalty to the State shall be disqualified for a period of five years from the date of such dismissal.
(2) For the purposes of sub-section (1), a certificate issued by the Election Commission to the effect that a person having held office under the Government of India or under the Government of a State, has or has not been dismissed for corruption or for disloyalty to the State shall be conclusive proof of that fact:
Provided that no certificate to the effect that a person has been dismissed for corruption or for disloyalty to the State shall be issued unless an opportunity of being heard has been given to the said person.”
Thus, a person who has been dismissed from a government service for corruption or for disloyalty to the State is disqualified from contesting elections for a period of 5 years from the date of such dismissal. It is further provided that a certificate issued by the Election Commission in this regard shall be conclusive proof, as to whether the dismissal was for corruption or disloyalty or was not for these reasons.
Now, in the case of ex-BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav, he was dismissed from BSF on April 19, 2017. So, the period of 5 years from that date would operate till April 18, 2022. Thus, he was required to obtain a certificate from the Election Commission that his dismissal from government service was not on account of corruption or disloyalty to the State.
Before filing his nomination, Tej Bahadur Yadav should have been aware of the legal provisions relating to disqualification of candidates. Moreover, he has been fielded by a well-established political party, i.e., Samajwadi Party, which has sufficient legal support. Despite this, Tej Bahadur or Samajwadi Party did not take sufficient care in advance to satisfy the requirements of law under Section 9 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
This is not an obscure provision of law hidden in some old circular, but it is a prominent legal provision in the main Act itself. They cannot say that they were not aware of this legal provision. Everyone is supposed to know the law. Ignorance of law is no excuse.
Moreover, despite an additional opportunity given to him by the District Election Officer to produce the certificate from the Election Commission, he failed to comply with the requirements of law.
Thus, the rejection of nomination of Tej Bahadur Yadav appears to be in order. He and his political party are themselves to blame for this legal fiasco. The Election Commission would not take such major action of rejecting nomination of a candidate (and that too in a VIP constituency of the PM, which can attract media attention) under undue influence of the government or the ruling party.
This article was first published on tilakmarg and has been republished here with permission.
[The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of VERDiCTUM and VERDiCTUM does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same]