Petitioners seek quashing of their elections for exceeding limit

Two different Benches of the Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued notices to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Law Minister Somnath Bharti on two different petitions seeking quashing of their elections on the ground that they exceeded the expenditure limit of Rs.14 lakh for campaigning per constituency in the Assembly elections.

Former Delhi BJP chief Vijender Gupta and former MCD Mayor of the party Arti Mehra have filed the two petitions against Mr. Kejriwal and Mr. Somnath respectively.

Mr. Gupta was the party’s candidate in New Delhi constituency where Mr. Kejriwal defeated Sheila Dikshit, while Ms. Mehra fought against Mr. Bharti and lost in Malviya Nagar.

Issuing the notices, the Court asked the Chief Minister and the Law Minister to file replies to the petitions within four weeks. The matter will now come up for hearing on February 25.

The petitioners sought quashing of the two elections alleging that they exceeded the Election Commission’s expenditure ceiling of Rs.14 lakh for a candidate to spend on the campaigning in his or her Assembly constituency.

They alleged that Mr. Kejriwal and Mr. Bharti in their filings of their respective election expenses had told the Commission that they had incurred Rs.4 lakh and Rs.5 lakh respectively on their campaigning.

“If we add these expenses with the costs incurred on holding a musical concert at Jantar Mantar on November 23, 2013, it is proved that they spent more than Rs.14 lakh each on their respective campaigns, the petitions said.

The petitioners further submitted that the Commission had computed the costs of holding the concert ‘Gunj’ at Rs.40 lakh and if it was equally divided amongst three Aam Aadmi Party candidates, including Mr. Kejriwal and Mr. Bharti--who organised the event, and then added to their total expenses, a clear-cut case of their disqualification was made out.

As the computation of the costs on organising the concert done by the Commission had not been challenged within the stipulated 30 days, it had attained finality, the petitions said.

More In: National | News | Delhi