Court dismisses complaint against Gambhir over 2 voter IDs

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Tuesday dismissed a complaint case against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Gautam Gambhir that accused him of possessing two voter identity cards.

The complaint case was filed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Atishi Marlena, who contested Lok Sabha polls against Gambhir from East Delhi.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal dismissed the complaint saying that the allegations against Gambhir are baseless and not legally sustainable. The court also opined that the purport of section 125 is not to punish those concealments which are not required by the law to be given and said: “I am of the view that by giving the information of registration as a voter in Rajinder Nagar constituency, the respondent (Gambhir) has complied with the provisions of section 33 (1) and 33A(2) of the Act.”

Marlena had requested the court to direct Delhi Police to register a case against cricketer-turned-politician Gambhir under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act for concealing possession of voter ID card from two places, one from Rajinder Nagar and another from Karol Bagh.

“It deals with that part of the affidavit where a candidate has to disclose his place of enrollment as a voter. It is not the case of the complainant that this information is wrong. The only allegation is that he was registered in Karol Bagh constituency is concealed. It is clear that in this Form, the candidate has to declare the place of his registration which is rightfully declared. There is no other information in any other column which is concealed or wrongly given,” the court said.

Adding “not mentioning the second place of registration as a voter is not a concealment within the meaning of section 125 A of the Act”, the court said: “…when mere registration at two places is not a disqualification to contest the election, how can a mere fact that one of the place of registration was not mentioned in the nomination form or affidavit may amount to concealment and a criminal offence. The positive information was already given in the affidavit.”

Dealing with the question if mere registration of a person as a voter, in two different constituencies was an offence, the court observed that a person could not be disqualified if his name finds place in multiple constituencies.

The court said that “if a person cannot be disqualified from contesting elections merely because he is a voter in two different constituencies, his criminal prosecution for having so registered will be completely unauthorised in law.”

The court said that “no evidence on record” that showed a false declaration was made by Gambhir that amounted to an offence under law. Marlena said that Gambhir violated provisions of the Representation of the People Act by concealing certain information or providing false information in his nomination papers.

She told the court that as per Section 17 of Representation of People Act, no person can be enrolled as a voter in more than one constituency and doing so is a criminal offence. She also stated that as per Section 31 of the Representation of People Act, if any person makes any false declaration, he shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or both.