Lok Sabha Elections: PIL Filed in Kerala High Court Claims BJP Minister Rajeev Chandrashekhar Filed False Affidavit

(Judicial Quest News Network)

In a noteworthy development, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the Kerala High Court today, demanding an investigation into the affidavit submitted by Union Minister Rajeev Chandrashekhar as part of his nomination for the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections. Chandrashekhar is contesting as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) candidate from the Thiruvananthapuram constituency. The case is titled [Avani Bansal v. The Election Commission of India & Ors.].

The Petition is filed by the Congress leader Avani Bansal,  a supreme Court lawyer and Bengaluru resident Renjith Thomas alleged that the NDA candidate filed  a false affidavit declaring his assets before the Election Commissionby violating the relevant provision of the Representation of People Act, 1951 and Conduct of the election Rules, 1961.

The petitioner submitted that as a public-spirited Individual, the petitioner filed complaint alleging the filing of a false affidavit.

They filed a complaint in this regard against Chandrashekhar before the returning officer in Thiruvanathapuram.It is also added that they have provided Prima Facie evidence to justify an enquiry into the allegations.

The petitioner submitted that the returning officer is the statutory authority to inquire into the complaints made against Chandrashekher and he is suppose to give an oral order with regard to any  complaints that are made.

It is also submitted that the BJP leader had committed a similar offence in 2018 Rajya Sabha Elctions too. The PIL reiterated the allegations against Chandrashekhar over hiding his assets in the affidavitattached to his nominations.

The plea further state that it is in the interest of the general public to protect the fundamental rights of every citizen of this country who believs in the Constitution on India, wants to save the basic dictum of democracy and wants free and fair elections as per the spirit of Articles 14, 19 and 324 of the Constitution of India.

The petitioner in her complaint elucidated how Chandrasekhar is misusing the law and not declaring his actual assets. Filing false affidavit by him blatantly infringes the Fundamental Right of votes and also raises doubts on free and fair election conducted by Election Commission of India.

Total immoveable assets declared by Chandrashekhar is approximately 14 crores and 45 Lakhs. However, there is no mention of  either of his rental income , or rental payment, or ownership of his current home address mentioned in the affidavit.

It is pointed out that filing a flase affidavit is punishable under section 125A of the Representation of People Act, with imprisonment for a term which may extend upto 6 months or with a fine, or both.

The returning officer not providing a reasoned order in response to their complaint violates their right to know whether the allegations in the complaint have been accepted or denied, it was argued.

The petitioner further submits that the Chandrashekhar is a habitual offender as regards to filing fasle affidavits in election.

After approachint ot the Returning officer within the specified time as per the election notification pointing out  the objections, However, no action was taken by respondents 1& 2 and the nomination submitted by Chandrashekhar was accepted  and he was declared as a valid  candidate.

As pr the section 36 of the Representation of peoples Act, the returning officer is duty bound to pass a reasoned order in case of accepting or rejecting a nomination.

It is pointed out that no response by the reurning officer or the State election Commission of India, is a fraud upon the citizens of the country and takes away level playing field for the elections. Because Hon.ble Supreme Court has issued directions about the right of the voters related to false affidavit filed by the candidates who represent voters in parliament/Assemblies.

The PIL will be heared by a bench of Justices VG Arun and S. Manu on Tuesday.

The petitioners are represented by Senior Advocate George Poonthuttam, and advocates Nisha George, Al Navneeth Krishnan, Reginald Valasaln, Namita Philson, Anshin KK and Sidharth R Wariyar.

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