Patna: The Patna High Court on Thursday cancelled the Lok Sabha membership of BJP MP Chhedi Paswan over concealing information in his election affidavit. Responding to the judgment, Paswan told reporters that he has nothing to hide and he will challenge the high court verdict. Paswan, 66, said he will challenge the verdict in the Supreme Court.
Justice Kishore Kumar Mandal, who declared Paswan’s election “null and void”, said that candidates must disclose criminal cases instituted against them “prior to six months of filing of nomination”.“…In the circumstances for such non-compliance of relevant law the election of returned candidate is liable to held null and void,” the judge said.
The judgment came on a petition filed by one Ganga Mishra of Bhabua. With the disqualification of Paswan, the BJP’s tally from Bihar in the Lok Sabha has come down to 21 and the overall tally of NDA to 30. A three-term MP from Sasaram, Paswan has the distinction of defeating former Lok Sabha Speaker and senior Congress leader Meira Kumar on two occasions.
Paswan, however, said non-mention of the cases in his affidavit was a slip and he had also felt the mention was not mandatory. “I have not been indicted on any of the charges. It was an oversight that I missed mentioning them,” the MP said. Meira Kumar hailed the court’s decision. “The court has restored the truth. Paswan erred in misleading his constituents by hiding the cases against him.”
BJP leader and leader of Opposition in the Bihar assembly, Prem Kumar, said the party will comment only after getting full details of the case. Paswan, a former JD-U legislator, joined the BJP ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls to register a win, raising BJP’s tally in Bihar to 22. The NDA’s tally increased to 31, with the LJP returning six MPs and another ally RLSP romping home with 3.
Earlier in 2011, the Patna high court had struck down the election of Mangani Lal Mandal, a JD(U) MP from Jhanjharpur for hiding facts about his first wife and her property “in flagrant violation of the RPA Act”.