The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to restrain cricketer Sachin Tendulkar from taking oath as a Rajya Sabha member on a PIL seeking quashing of his nomination to the Upper House.
The court, however, asked the Centre to respond to the PIL by July 4, the next date of hearing.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw dismissed the application for stay of Sachin’s oath ceremony, but asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A S Chandhiok to seek instructions from the government and inform the court by the next date of hearing on the PIL.
“How is this sports category covered while nominating a sportsperson to the Rajya Sabha?” the bench queried and asked the ASG to reply on this issue.
Mr. Chandhiok argued that the power has been exercised by the President of India and the court cannot interfere in the matter.
The petitioner Ram Gopal Singh Sisodia, a former Delhi MLA, had challenged the nomination on the ground that Sachin does not possess any of the qualifications prescribed under Article 80 of the Constitution for being nominated to the Rajya Sabha.
Appearing for the petitioner, advocate R K Kapoor submitted that the Constitution allowed the government to select from only four categories — arts, science, literature and social science. The selection of a sportsperson was unconstitutional, he said.
On May 14, the Supreme Court had refused to quash 39-year-old batting maestro’s nomination to the Upper House and had asked Mr. Sisodia to rather approach the high court with his plea.
In his petition, the former Delhi MLA had raised several questions, including whether a person can be nominated as a Rajya Sabha member under clause 1(a) read with clause (3) of Article 80 of the Constitution even if he does not have special knowledge or practical experience as enumerated.
The petition has asked if a nomination made beyond the categories as specified under Article 80 (3) is not liable to be declared as an invalid and illegal nomination?
“That in view of these facts and circumstances, the petitioner has filed the Civil Writ Petition before this Hon’ble Court since there is a clear violation of the provisions of Article 14 (equality of law), 16(1) (equality in public employment), 51A (fundamental duties), read with Article 300 A (persons not to be deprived of property except by law) and Article 80 of the Constitution,” the petition has said.
Making a reference to certain financial rights and other privileges of members, it has said, “Tax-payers money cannot go into the pockets of those who are not eligible to be nominated as members of the Rajya Sabha. The petitioner is an income-tax payee and the money contributed by citizens must be spent for constitutional purposes only.”