Delhi High Court directs ECI to file reply in plea by JDU’s Govind Yadav against alleged illegal usurpation in the party

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The RJD leader has sought direction to declare null and void all such processes of organizational elections of JDU allegedly held in 2016, 2019 & 2022.

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the Election Commission of India to file reply in the plea by JDU leader Govind Yadav against the alleged illegal usurpation of the Janta Dal (United).

He was illegally expelled from the JDU Party on October 4, 2016 for six years and later became a member again in 2022. 

Yadav has alleged that JDU has been usurped in contravention of its constitution and rules which are harming his interest and other former members of the party.

The bench of Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav directed the ECI to file its reply within six weeks.

The JDU leader has filed the plea through Advocate Rakesh Kaushik Pathak against the Centre, Election Commission of India, and JDU leaders namely, Nitish Kumar, Aneel Prasad Hegde, RCP Singh, Lalan Singh, Javed Raza, Kishan Chand Tyagi, Afaque Ahmad Khan, and Arun Kumar Srivastava.

Yadav has sought relief against the respondent's inactions and arbitrary acts/omissions of the Election Commission of India (ECI). Yadav has alleged that ECI illegally invoked constitutional provisions arising out of the Tenth Scheduled of the Constitution of India.

He stated that the respondents ignored the tenet of law upheld by the Supreme Court for deciding the undisputed group of the JDU entitled to its allotted symbol, without examining the veracity of disputed information regarding the illegal changes made in the JDU.

As per the plea, Yadav has been raising objections since October 4, 2016, whereas, respondents 3 to 10 (the JDU leaders) sent false information and forged documents in order to fraudulently usurp the JDU by way of bogus organizational elections, conducted in complete violation of JDU's constitution and JDU rules.

"It is pertinent to mention that Nitish Kumar was elected by the National Executive of JDU on 10.04.2016 as the Acting President for conducting organizational elections of JDU within 6 months in accordance with the JDU Constitution & JDU Rules", the plea read.

It also stated, “Thereafter, Aneel Prasad Hegde had fraudulently claimed himself as National Returning Officer for conducting organizational elections of JDU in 2016 at various levels. However, there is no such post mentioned in the JDU Constitution & JDU Rules".

"The said appointments of Aneel Prasad Hegde was made by the office bearers of JDU which is against the JDU Constitution and JDU Rules as the said power is vested in its National Executive", it further added.

The plea stated that Aneel Hegde had fraudulently refused to conduct organizational elections in at least 23 State/ UT or equivalent units just in order to eliminate the opposition of Nitish Kumar in an undemocratic manner.

Consequently, the alleged National Council of JDU was constituted with only 195 alleged members from just 5 States/UT units. Whereas, the last undisputed NC was formed in 2013 with a total of 1098 members from at least 28 States and UT units.

The plea also mentioned that Yadav and others raised disputes/objections regarding the said illegal and deceptive JDU organizational elections in a joint complaint before the ECI in October 2016. 

Initially, the ECI sought comments via a letter in December 2016, to which Aneel Hegde filed a reply with a specific undertaking on behalf of Nitish Kumar to begin a massive door-to-door membership campaign in order to hold proper organizational elections of JDU in accordance with its constitution and rules.

Aneel Hegde had previously made a similar assurance to Yadav at the all-India level in his letter dated September 9, 2016.

Yadav in his plea stated that, however, no such membership campaign had been started till date i.e. even after six years. He alleged that it was necessary so that the “democratic opportunity” of the deprived members could be restored.

Through the present petition, the RJD leader has sought directions to declare null and void all such processes of organizational elections of JDU held in 2016, 2019 & 2022 which allegedly have been "fraudulently" conducted for the "purpose of illegally usurping party positions/posts" in contravention to the JDU Constitution and JDU Rules.

The plea has also sought directions to declare the expulsion of Yadav and other members from the membership of JDU, which had been allegedly decided by an "incompetent authority" in complete violation of the procedures mentioned under the JDU Constitution and JDU Rules.

Moreover, the plea has sought directions to the Centre and ECI to ensure free and fair organizational elections of JDU at all levels from bottom to top strictly in accordance with the JDU Constitution and JDU Rules, after providing fair opportunities for renewal of memberships and updating electoral rolls.

Case Title: Govind Yadav v. UOI & Ors.

Statue: The Constitution of India; The Representation of Peoples Act