Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition filed by a sacked Border Security Force (BSF) Constable Tej Bahadur challenging Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election as a Member of Parliament from the Varanasi constituency during the 2019 general election.
The apex court bench headed by CJI Sharad Arvind Bobde held that Allahabad High Court had rightly dismissed the petitioner’s appeal. On December 6, 2019, Allahabad High Court had dismissed his petition citing the grounds that he is neither an elector nor a candidate under section 83 of the Representation of Peoples Act to challenge the winning candidate’s election.
“Section 83 of the Act allows only an elector or candidate to maintain an election petition…In this sense, the election petition can also be set to be barred by section 81 read with section 86(1) of the Act. We are, therefore, of the view that the present election petition has been rightly nipped in the bud. The civil appeal is therefore dismissed,” said the apex court bench.
The bench, also comprising of Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian in its 13-page short order observed, “We find that the averments in the petition do not disclose that the appellant has a cause of action which invest him with the right to sue. It is settled that where a person has no interest at all, or no sufficient interest to support a legal claim or action he will have no locus standi to sue. The entitlement to sue or locus standi is an integral part of the cause of action.”
The bench had reserved the order on November 18 and refused to adjourn it further. The court held that this is an important case as it is related to PMO and should be adjudged the earliest.
Tej Bahadur’s nomination as a candidate from the Varanasi constituency was rejected by a returning officer of the Election Commission. His nomination was rejected after he failed to submit the certificate from the Election Commission of India to clarify that his dismissal from the service was not on the grounds of disloyalty or corruption.
He had first approached the Allahabad High Court and then appealed in top court raising the issue that he was not given sufficient time to clarify the grounds on which he was sacked from the service.
Bahadur had claimed that his nomination was rejected as PM Narendra Modi was contesting from Varanasi and rejecting his nomination is a move to facilitate an easy victory of PM Modi. The appellant also raised the issue that the election was vitiated on account of misuse of official power by the Returning Officer and the Election Observer.
In April 2017, Tej Bahadur was dismissed from the service in Border Security Force (BSF) after his video on the supply of poor quality food to the BSF Jawans got viral over the internet.