Petition against Lalu Prasad’s election dismissed

April 4th, 2008 - 7:34 pm ICT by admin  

(Lead)

New Delhi, April 4 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday dismissed a plea challenging Railway Minister Lalu Prasad’s election from the Chhapra Lok Sabha seat in Bihar in 2004. A Lucknow-based advocate had sought annulment of Lalu Prasad’s election on the ground that he had contested election from Chhapra while representing the Madhepura Lok Sabha seat.

A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice Aftab Alam dismissed advocate Ashok Pandey’s petition saying “there is no bar from contesting elections from two Lok Sabha seats”.

“A member of the Lok Sabha cannot be a member of the Rajya Sabha or the state legislature. But there is no constitutional provision that prevents a person from contesting two Lok Sabha seats,” said the chief justice, dismissing the petition.

As Pandey insisted upon continuing his arguments, an exasperated chief justice sternly said: “Look mister! We have already heard you. Your petition is dismissed.”

Disappointed, the advocate left the courtroom.

In his petition, Pandey had also sought the court’s direction to declare Lalu Prasad’s tenure as minister “illegal” from the date he resigned his Madhepura seat on June 16, 2004, contending that his election from Chhapra was illegal.

He said that the Rashtriya Janata Dal president had contested the 2004 general election from two seats - Chhapra and Madhepura.

But due to large-scale rigging on polling day, the Election Commission countermanded the poll. This took place a few days before he was declared elected from Madhepura seat on May 13, 2004.

The result of the 2004 general election was notified by the poll panel on May 17, 2004, said Pandey, adding that Lalu Prasad was subsequently appointed railway minister and took oath of office May 22. However, he took oath as a Lok Sabha member from Madhepura May 26.

Meanwhile, the countermanded polling for Chhapra was held on May 31, which he ended up contesting, albeit by default as only the polling and not the entire election had been countermanded.

Due to this, Lalu Prasad got no opportunity to withdraw his candidature from the Chhapra seat.

Pandey recalled that the RJD chief was subsequently declared elected from Chhapra seat as well on June 2, 2004, for which he took oath on June 16. But he had not resigned his Madhepura seat.

Pandey, in his petition, contended that the minister could not have contested to become a Lok Sabha MP from Chhapra while being a member of the same house from a different seat.

He had earlier raised the issue before the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, which had dismissed his petition saying it had no territorial jurisdiction over the matter.

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