False declaration in Election can be a Corrupt Practice

A false declaration made by a candidate in regard to his/her educational qualification can be brought within the purview of sec. 123(4) of Representation of People Act, 1951, as a corrupt practice, says Delhi High Court in Yogendra Chandolia v Vishesh Ravi and Others.

The Section 123(4) of the RP Act states, “The publication by a candidate or his agent or by any other person with the consent of a candidate or his election agent, of any statement of fact which is false, and which he either believes to be false or does not believe to be true, in relation to the personal character or conduct of any candidate or in relation to the candidature, or withdrawal, of any candidate, being a statement reasonably calculated to prejudice the prospects of that candidate’s election.”

The High Court holds that the expression in relation to candidature should, include information concerning the educational qualification of a candidate, since the Supreme Court has unambiguously held that voters have the fundamental right to know the antecedents of the candidate. The observation was made while dealing with an application filed by Vishesh Ravi, an elected Member of the legislative assembly (MLA), in this case.

The key allegation was that the Vishesh Ravi, the respondent in this case, had disclosed in his affidavit filed in Form-26 along with his nomination, that his educational qualification was 10th passed which according to a respondent it was false.

Another allegation is that there was no disclosure concerning the pendency of the First Information Report (FIR) registered against him in Form-26.

On the issue whether there was an obligation on Vishesh Ravi’s part to disclose information about his educational qualifications and his involvement in a criminal case, the Delhi High Court holds that the candidate who files his nomination is required to disclose his educational qualifications as also his past convictions including fines imposed, imprisonments suffered, acquittals or discharge.

Further reading

  1. Yogendra Chandolia v Vishesh Ravi and Others