Supreme Court agrees to hear former Delhi law minister Jitender Singh Tomar’s plea against HC order declaring his election as void

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear former Delhi law minister Jitender Singh Tomar’s plea challenging the Delhi High Court’s verdict holding as “void” his election to the legislative assembly in 2015 polls for furnishing false information of his educational qualification in the nomination papers.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde issued notice seeking replies from the respondents concerned, including those who had contested from Tomar’s constituency and its returning officer.

“Issue notice,” said the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, which heard the matter through video-conferencing.

In its verdict on January 17 this year, the Delhi High Court had held Tomar’s election to Tri Nagar constituency in 2015 polls as “void”.

It said false declaration by the Aam Aadmi Party leader about his educational qualification that he had obtained a valid LLB degree, and vocation has resulted in “inducement and thwarted free exercise of electoral right of the voter”.

In the apex court appeal, Tomar, represented by advocate Kush Sharma, has sought setting aside of the high court verdict.

He said the high court had “erroneously held that the appellant (Tomar) had not lawfully obtained his LLB degree and was not duly enrolled as an advocate at the time of filing his nomination, and further held that nomination of the appellant was improperly accepted”.

The appeal has claimed that on date of declaration, Tomar was holding a valid and subsisting LLB degree awarded by Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University in 1999.

It alleged that the high court verdict had come on a plea which had challenged Tomar’s graduation degree, which did not form part of his January 16, 2015 affidavit, and not his LLB degree.

It claimed that the “high court ought not have given the finding that the appellant (Tomar) had not ‘lawfully obtained LLB degree and was not duly enrolled as an advocate at the time of filing his nomination’ as a criminal trial on the subject matter is presently ongoing before the trial court…”

The high court had delivered its verdict on a plea by BJP leader Nand Kishore Garg who had alleged that Tomar’s 2015 election had been “materially affected by deliberate concealment, misrepresentation, wrong declaration and wilful suppression of the educational qualification in the affidavit filed along with the nomination form”. Garg had contested against Tomar.

In its judgement, the high court had held that Tomar had “published statements of fact which were false and which he did not believe to be true in relation to his educational qualifications and to unduly influence the voters/electors in his election and which act of the respondent no.1 (Tomar) amounts to a corrupt practice.”

It had also said Garg was successful in proving that Tomar’s claim of being a graduate in B.Sc programme of Avadh University was also fabricated.

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