The Patna High Court on Thursday set aside the election of BJP MP from Sasaram, Chhedi Paswan, for “hiding mention of a case” in the affidavit he filed for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
A single bench of Justice K K Mandal delivered the verdict on the grounds that Paswan had “suppressed facts”.
The verdict came on a plea by Sasaram voter Gagan Mishra, who had told the court that Paswan had hidden that a case regarding a protest at Durgawati reservoir was pending against him. Mishra’s lawyer Manoranjan Kumar Verma said: “Though details of the verdict are awaited, the court declared Paswan’s election from Sasaram parliamentary segment in 2014 null and void on account of suppression of facts in his election affidavit”.
Following the verdict, Paswan said he did not violate any norms and added that he would challenge the ruling before a division bench of the high court or the Supreme Court. Paswan had defeated Congress leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar in the 2014 polls.
“Though I respect the court’s verdict, I will move the division bench of high court or the Supreme Court for justice. I do not face any criminal case. It was a political protest in demand of making the reservoir operational, which is a public cause,” Paswan said.
Paswan’s lawyer Sanjay Kumar Manu, however, said Paswan had not violated election norms which say that a candidate has to make mention of only cases in which charges are framed in a case or one is convicted for more than two years. Paswan had three pending cases against him. Of these, two were for violating model code of conduct by putting up posters and the third was regarding the protest at Durgawati reservoir. But, no charges were framed in either of them and hence, “it does not amount to a violation of norms.”
Reacting to the verdict, former Sasaram MP Meira Kumar said: “The court’s verdict has only emboldened my faith in the judiciary.”
Paswan, who had crossed over to the BJP from the JD(U) before Lok Sabha polls, had served as a minister in Nitish Kumar government.
He is a third-time MP. Prior to 2014, he had won as Janata Dal candidate in 1989 and 1991 elections.