A contesting candidate, according to the requirements of law, is mandated to disclose his past criminal antecedents where the possible conviction is two years or more, the Court observed.
Election of Chhedi Paswan, a BJP MP from Sasaram (SC) Parliamentary Constituency in Bihar, has been declared null and void by the Patna High Court, for suppressing his past criminal antecedents in his Affidavit filed along with his nomination papers.
Justice Kishore Kumar Mandal, allowing an Election petition filed by Ganga Mishra, an Advocate, who is a voter from Paswan’s constituency, observed that a contesting candidate is mandated by law to disclose his past criminal antecedents where the possible conviction is two years or more and triviality of the offence would not be of much consequence.
The Paragraph 5 (ii) of Form 26 requires the candidate to enlist or detail criminal cases pending against him in which the Court has taken cognizance. Paswan had written “Shunya” (Nil) against it.On Examination, Paswan admitted that a Section 145 IPC case was initiated against him as he sat on dharna for immediate commission of the Durgawati Reservoir Project which was beneficial for the people of the constituency. While sitting on dharna, he had not obstructed the flow of traffic on the road. It was a peaceful dharna, he said.
Rejecting his contentions, the Court observed: “It has been strenuously submitted on behalf of the respondent no. 1 that the Mohania P.S. Case No. 168 of 2006 was instituted under minor sections of the Penal Code which include Section 145 IPC in relation to staging of dharna or blocking of the road for immediate implementation of a water project in the Constituency for the benefit of the people/voters at large. It is one of the rights of a citizen who is in active politics to do so. Triviality of the offence in which the contesting candidate is involved, in my view, would not be of much consequence. A contesting candidate, according to the requirements of law, is mandated to disclose his past criminal antecedents where the possible conviction is two years or more.”
Declaring his election null and void the Court observed: “In the circumstances, for such non-compliance of the provisions of the Act, the order issued by the ECI under Article 324 of the Constitution and breach of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, the election of respondent no. 1 from 34 Sasaram (SC) Parliamentary Constituency is liable to be held as null and void as the respondent no. 1 suffered from constitutional disability.”
Read the Judgment here.