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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Jul 2014

Gill's election as NRI sabha chief challenged in HC

Jasdeep Singh Malhotra, Hindustan Times  Jalandhar, April 04, 2013
First Published: 20:13 IST(4/4/2013) | Last Updated: 20:15 IST(4/4/2013)

The Punjab and Haryana high court has asked the Punjab government to submit its reply about the action taken on former NRI Sabha, Punjab president Kamaljit Singh Hayre's complaint against enrolment of bogus membership, allegedly meant to subvert the poll process.

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Besides, the state government, Jalandhar divisional commissioner, Jalandhar additional deputy commissioner and Jasvir Singh Gill, the newly elected sabha president were asked to file their replies on Hayre's January 27 complaint pertaining to alleged failure of the poll authorities to check ineligible voters from casting votes.

The notice of motion served to the respondents would return by May 13, the court said.

Hayer, in a civil writ petition to the high court recently, had complained of irregularities in the NRI sabha polls.

Hayre, who was defeated by Gill by a margin of 197 votes during January 27 elections, alleged that the voter list was fudged to suit Gill's interests.

"A large section of Punjabis, who had visited Dubai or Gulf countries for small-time employment or on visitor visas, had been wrongly enrolled as members of the sabha. How can a person, who visited Dubai 10 years back for some time, claim to be an NRI? More than 800 ineligible persons were enrolled as voters at Gill's behest to high-jack the election process," Hayre alleged.

Hayre said that Gill paid over Rs. 25 lakh as fee for getting 700 people enrolled as members, even as they were ineligible as per the constitution.

"Those living in foreign countries should only be treated as NRIs and they should have been entitled to right to vote," he demanded.

Hayre contended that as per election guidelines, the poll authorities were required to check for a valid visa on the NRI's foreign passport before allowing him or her to caste the vote.

“However,  poll authorities did not implement these norms. A large section of NRIs with expired visas were also allowed to caste their votes," he alleged.

Hayre demanded that during the pendency of the civil writ petition, Gill should be restrained from working as sabha president.

"Besides, an administrator or receiver should be deputed to manage sabha funds running into crores of rupees since there is apprehension of misuse of the public money by certain unscrupulous vested interests patronised by powerful lobbies," he alleged.

He said that the election to the post of president should be declared null and void, while ordering the authorities concerned to hold the polls afresh strictly as per the Indian Constitution. Hayre also demanded a CBI probe into the fudging of electoral rolls.

Gill said that the sabha had not received court's orders in this regard.  "We will file the reply after consulting our legal experts," he said, adding that the sabha elections were conducted in free and fair manner.

"Challenging the election process by a defeated candidate is an afterthought. Hayre did not file any objections during preparation of voters' lists, in spite of the fact that the poll authorities allowed the public to lodge their objections from January 1-8, 2013," he said.

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