HC dismisses petition challenging election of Union Minister Kailash Choudhary

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Jodhpur, Apr 28 (PTI) In a major relief to Union Minister Kailash Choudhary, the Rajasthan High Court on Wednesday rejected a petition challenging his election as the BJP candidate from Barmer Lok Sabha constituency.

Sacked IPS officer Pankaj Choudhary had challenged Choudhary's election and the rejection of his nomination papers by the Returning Officer as a BSP candidate from the same constituency.

While rejecting the petition, Justice Arun Bhansali said that that there was nothing wrong in the rejection of Pankaj Choudhary's nomination papers as he failed to submit a required certificate in time.

Pankaj Choudhary's nomination had been rejected on April 10, 2019 because he had not submitted essential documents required under sections 9 and 33 (3) of the Representation of the People Act 1951.

Section 9 of the Act says: “A person who has 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”.

Section 33 (3) states that if such a person submits a certificate from Election Commission that he has not been dismissed on the above mentioned ground(s) and his dismissal has not completed five years, is eligible for filing nomination.

Arguing on the petitioner's behalf, counsel Rajak Haider said that Pankaj Choudhary had been dismissed on a charge related to a family matter and not for corruption or disloyalty to the state.

“In spite of this, the Election Commission did not issue him the certificate and in absence of the same, his nomination was rejected”, Haider argued.

He raised questions on the role of the Election Commission for not issuing him the certificate till the last date of filing nomination on April 8, 2019 though he applied for it on April 1.

But Justice Bhansali turned down these arguments and rejected his petition stating that there was nothing wrong in the rejection of Pankaj Choudhary's nomination as he failed to submit the certificate on time.

Kailash Choudhary is the Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare. PTI CORR RT RT