A petition against Punjab cabinet minister Anil Joshi in the dual-vote case of Amritsar has been dismissed in the Punjab and Haryana high court with a cost of Rs 50,000 imposed on the petitioner.
Joshi’s counsel Satya Pal Jain said that the bench comprising justice Hemant Gupta and justice Lisa Gill had observed on Monday that the petition by Amritsar lawyer Vaneet Mahajan to accuse Joshi and his family of having dual vote was sheer misuse of law and the allegations were not proved.
Based on the electoral rolls record of 2006 to 2013, Mahajan had tried to show that Joshi and his wife, Monica, were listed as voters from both Amritsar North and Amritsar East assembly constituencies, while his mother was registered as voter also in Tarn Taran, the ancestral town of the Joshi family. All others mentioned were listed as voters from Amritsar North and Tarn Taran, he had alleged.
In a complaint to the Election Commission of India (ECI), the lawyer had demanded action against the minister and his brother, Rajesh Joshi, saying they had made false declarations at the time of filing nomination papers for their respective elections. Mahajan had moved court seeking that Joshi be disqualified as legislator on the grounds that he had not been a voter on any electoral list in Punjab at the time of the elections.
Petitioner accused Joshi of assault
Vaneet Mahajan had lodged a first-information report (FIR) against Joshi in Amritsar, saying that the minister was behind a murderous assault on him. Mahajan’s lawyer friend Sandeep Gorsi had accused Joshi of plotting multiple attacks on them for their exposing the “fraud and forgery” in the dual-vote case.
CEO affidavit came as a savior
Replying to the petition, the office of the Punjab chief electoral officer (CEO) had submitted that it had found no discrepancies in the documents that Joshi, now Punjab minister for local bodies, had submitted before the 2012 assembly elections. In an affidavit, the CEO’s office has stated that at that time, Joshi was a voter at only one place, Amritsar North, and it had received no objection against his candidature during the poll process.
It was the state election commission that had urged the high court to dismiss the petition and impose cost on the petitioner.