Delhi High Court today refused to strike off AAP Chief Arvind Kerjiwal’s name from the electoral rolls after the Election Commission of India (ECI) said his name has been correctly enrolled in the voters’ list for Saturday’s assembly polls in the national capital.
“In view of the statutory bar on the modification of the electoral roll at this stage, relief with regard to striking off the name of respondent no.8 (Arvind Kejriwal) cannot be granted,” Justice Vibhu Bakhru said.
“The election process has begun, so there is not point in interfering with it,” the court added.
It further said that the objection raised by the Congress Leader Kiran Walia and NGO Maulik Bharat Trust with regard to inclusion of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader’s name is pending before the Electoral Registration Officer, shall be considered after the election.
“We (the court) are not entertaining the dispute whether the respondent (Arvind Kejriwal) is an ordinary resident of Delhi or not. It is before ECI and they are saying that they will hear them,” the court said, adding that the poll panel should intimate the outcome of the objections to the parties.
The court order came after advocate P R Chopra, appearing for ECI informed it that Kejriwal’s name was correctly enrolled in the voters’ list of Delhi and was also verified by the poll panel officials who had submitted that he was presently residing at the B K Dutt colony in South Delhi.
“Arvind Kejriwal is registered as a voter in New Delhi constituency from the address 87, Block K, BK Dutt Colony (Jor Bagh),” ECI told court.
The poll panel said it has checked the latest electoral roll for Delhi and found Kejriwal’s name in the voters’ list from B K Dutt Colony.
“Though he had briefly lived at Tilak Marg after taking over the post of Chief Minister last year, he had applied for a change of address just ahead of the polls, first to V P House on Rafi Marg and then to B K Dutt Colony,” the panel said, adding that “now they cannot make changes as it was to be done before the last date of filing of the nomination”.
The court had earlier issued notice to EC on the plea of Walia, who is contesting the assembly election scheduled for February 7 from the New Delhi constituency, alleging that Kejriwal was not a Delhi resident and got his name entered in the electoral rolls by “manipulation, cheating and fraud”.
The plea had claimed that ‘Form 8A’ filed by Kejriwal to change his name and address in the electoral rolls was “not maintainable” because he was no longer on the electoral rolls.
Walia had claimed that Kejriwal “ceased to be an elector from Delhi” when the EC rejected his application for enrolment as a resident of Vitthal Bhai Patel House on January 9, 2015.
“Question of transposition does not arise” the plea had said, adding that Kejriwal should have filed fresh application as a voter in Delhi under form 6.
The plea had also sought court’s direction to the EC to hear the application for the transfer of Kejriwal’s enrolment based on objections raised by Walia.
As per the law, an assembly poll candidate must be an elector from any constituency in the state going to poll.
NGO in its plea filed through advocate Rahul Raj Malik had sought cancellation of Kejriwal’s candidature in the upcoming poll on the ground that he has allegedly illegally declared himself to be a resident of Delhi.
It alleged that the former Delhi Chief Minister has “illegally sought for inclusion of his name into the various electoral rolls of the capital city by illegally declaring himself to be an ‘ordinary resident’ of Delhi in past 22 months.”