The Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday issued the notice of motion to Punjab minister Anil Joshi, Bharatitya Janata Party (BJP) legislator from Amritsar North, on a petition challenging his election after the Election Commission of India (ECI) had found that he had submitted fraudulently in nomination papers that he was a registered voter in the constituency.
Joshi is cabinet minister for both local bodies and medical education and research. Hearing a petition by Amritsar lawyer Vaneet Mahajan, the division bench comprising justices AK Mittal and Raj Rahul Garg also issued notices of motion to the ECI and the Punjab government to demand their replies before November 25.
The petitioner had submitted that as Joshi was not a voter on any electoral list in Punjab, it disqualified him under Article 173 (c) read with Section 5(c) of the Representation of People Act, 1951, from holding a seat in the assembly. The enumerators had not found him name on the enumeration card but it was inserted at serial number 752 at the time of printing the electoral rolls after intensive revision for the year 2005-06, the petition says.
The petitioner had also alleged the names of Joshi’s wife, Monika, and other members of his family, were in the electoral rolls of both Amritsar North and Tarn Taran assembly constituencies in 2012. Mahajan had lodged a first-information report (FIR) against Joshi in Amritsar, saying the minister was behind a murderous assault on him on May 10. Mahajan and his lawyer friend Sandeep Gorsi had accused Joshi of time and again attacking them for exposing the fraud and forgery in the dual vote case.
On Monday, the petitioner submitted that Joshi’s continuing as a member of the state assembly since the 2012 elections when he did not have the basic statutory qualification for would tantamount to a fraud against the Constitution and a subversion of democracy.
The petitioner also submitted that under Article 193 of the Constitution, Joshi was liable to paying `500 per day as penalty from the day he sat in the assembly. He has prayed to the court to issue directions to treat the Amritsar North seat vacant.