Document forgery by candidate in PU polls: HC seeks report from Chandigarh Police
Presidential candidate had submitted different Class 10 documents with two date of births; Baidwan’s candidature was rejected by PU after he was found overage to contest the election
The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed Chandigarh Police to probe claims made by a Panjab University (PU) student about his age and educational qualifications, and submit a report by September 20.
The petitioner, Rajkaran Baidwan, who was one of the presidential candidates in the Panjab University Campus Student Council (PUCSC) elections, held on September 6, has also been told to deposit ₹1 lakh with the high court registry.
Baidwan’s candidature was rejected by PU after he was found overage to contest the election.
He has challenged PU’s decision, arguing that no objection was received against him after the nomination process and he was found eligible in the list so displayed by the respondents. However, his name did not figure in the final list of candidates. He alleged that the cancellation of his nomination was solely to give benefit to a similarly situated candidate namely Saksham Singh.
On the other hand, PU’s counsel, during the hearing, pointed out that as per the recommendations of the Lyngdoh Committee, for a post-graduation student, such as Baidwan, the prescribed age limit to contest the election was 24 to 25 years.
The petitioner has mentioned his age as 24 in the documents before high court. But on his Aadhaar Card, his date of birth is November 18, 1997, making him 25 years and approximately 10 months old and ineligible for the election.
The PU counsel also drew attention of the court to the copy of his Aadhaar Card with another date of birth: November 18, 1998.
The court was informed that as per the documents submitted by Baidwan during admission to PU, he cleared his matriculation from ICSE in 2014 with the date of birth as November 18, 1997. Subsequently against the same ID, he cleared Class 12 in 2016 and took admission in Bachelor of Arts at PU.
But during the PUCSC nomination process, he placed on record a Class 10 certificate from the Uttar Pradesh State Open School Board, also from 2014, but with the date of birth as November 18, 1998. The Class 12 certificate also listed this date of birth.
After securing admission in PU, he also pursued a parallel BSc (non-medical) graduation course with the IEC University, Himachal Pradesh, the court was informed, adding that he approached court by not only mentioning a wrong age, but has also committed acts of forgery in order to secure admission and to contest elections.
“Prima facie, the petition has been filed by concealing the above said information which was crucial and fundamental to the adjudication of the present case including his eligibility. However, before proceeding any further in the matter, it is expedient to seek determination of the aforesaid factual aspect,” the bench of justice Rajesh Bhardwaj observed, calling in UT’s counsel and directed that police initiate an inquiry into the factual aspects of the case and a report be filed within two weeks. The court also told police to collect record about his date of birth.
While posting the matter for September 20, the court told Baidwan to deposit ₹1 lakh with the high court registry and said if assertions against him were found to be correct, the said amount will be imposed as cost on him.
Meanwhile, PU dean student welfare (DSW) Jatinder Grover said he had written about the issue to PU dean of university instruction (DUI). “We will follow the due process and action will be taken as per law,” he added.
Senior PU officials confirmed that they will monitor the proceedings of the court and action will be taken against Baidwan from the university side as well. His admission may also be cancelled.
Panjab University Students’ Union (PUSU), which Baidwan had been representing, also said they will constitute a panel to independently examine the matter and may cancel his membership. Baidwan was previously suspended from the National Students Union of India (NSUI) as well.
‘Vendetta against me by other parties’
Claiming innocence, Baidwan said he was being targeted by rival student parties. As he was formerly a member of NSUI, he said, he would have affected other parties’ vote share.
“My nomination was cleared by the anthropology department and there was a fixed time to file objections to my nomination within the department itself, as per the schedule released for the PUCSC election. This act of filing objection at the DSW office beyond the deadline is illegal and I will seek legal remedy in this matter,” he added.