Delivering its verdict on Tuesday, the Supreme Court of India rejected the petition of sacked BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav in a case challenging the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi constituency in 2019 General Elections. Yadav had grabbed national headlines in 2017 after he had posted few videos on social media alleging poor quality food served at his Jammu and Kashmir camp.
The judgment was pronounced by a 3-Judge Bench comprising of Chief Justice SA Bobde, and Justices V. Ramasubramaniun and AS Bopanna. While rejecting the frivolous petition, CJI Bobde stated, “We are of the opinion that the petition was rightly nipped in the bud by the Allahabad HC. The Civil Appeal is hereby dismissed.” The apex court had reserved the verdict on November 18.
Reportedly, the advocate appearing for Yadav had sought several adjournments and pass overs during the hearing of the case. The Court noted that the issue concerned an important office of the country cannot keep the case pending indefinitely. CJI Bobde had observed, “We have already adjourned it many times. This is an important case which revolves around the unique office of the Prime Minister. We cannot keep it pending indefinitely.”
CJI Bobde: We are of the opinion that the petition was rightly nipped in the bud by the Allahabad HC. The Civil Appeal is thereby dismissed. #SupremeCourt— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) November 24, 2020
Observations made by Allahabad High Court
It is important to note that Yadav’s petition was earlier rejected by the Allahabad High Court in December 2019 as he had no locus standi in the case. The Supreme Court had upheld the judgement after the sacked BSF jawan had challenged it in Supreme Court. “The petitioner is neither an elector nor a candidate at the election which he seeks to challenge and would therefore have no locus to file election petition,” Justice Mohan Gupta of the Allahabad High Court had observed last year, relying upon Section 33 of The Representation of the People Act, 1951.
The Court had held that he was neither nominated nor deemed to have dominated and he could not have filed the election petition. Yadav in his plea to the Supreme Court had claimed that the High Court had failed to ‘appreciate misuse of provisions under Sections 9 & 33(3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 by the District Election Officer. He claimed that the High Court also wrongly rejected the plea based on only ‘technical grounds’ of Order VII Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure and failed to judge it on its merits.
Nomination papers of Tej Bahadur Yadav rejected by EC in 2019
During the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the sacked BSF jawan had filed his nomination papers against Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an SP candidate from Varanasi. His nomination was cancelled by the Election Commission. His nomination was then found ineligible under section 9 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. According to this clause, if a candidate was a former government employee and was dismissed from the job due to corruption or disloyalty, such employees will be disqualified from contesting elections. As Tej Bahadur was dismissed in 2017, his candidature was found to be invalid by the EC.
Yadav was dismissed from BSF
Tej Bahadur Yadav had earlier alleged that senior officers were selling the ration provided to the camp in the market, and the soldiers were being served poor quality. The Home Ministry and PMO had ordered a detailed probe into the matter, and it was found that Tej Bahadur was making false allegations. Posting videos on social media instead of raising grievances on proper channel was also found to be a violation of rules. Moreover, he had a history of bad behaviour in the force, and he was jailed four times in the past for misbehaving with seniors and abusing and threatening them. After the conclusion of the enquiry, he was dismissed from service in April 2017.