Odisha: Rs 5L fine for plea against Ashwini Vaishnaw’s Rajya Sabha poll

Orissa HC asks petitioner to deposit the amount within three weeks
Representative image
Representative image

CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court on Wednesday imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on a petitioner for filing a ‘frivolous’ plea against Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw’s election to the Rajya Sabha in 2019.

Bhagyadhar Behera, a 64-year-old Bhubaneswar-based company secretary had filed the petition through advocate Sidharth Prasad Das on March 19.

As per the order, Behera in his petition had sought direction to the Election Commission of India (ECI) to complete the inquiry within a stipulated time on his complaint alleging Vaishnaw had made a false declaration while filing his nominations for elections to Rajya Sabha in 2019.

While dismissing the petition, the division bench of Chief Justice Charadhari Sharan Singh and Justice MS Raman said, “After having carefully perused the pleadings in the writ petition, we are of the definite view that that the filing of the writ petition is a total abuse of the process of the court. Further, filing of the present writ petition appears to be politically motivated.”

The bench said, “The court exercising power of judicial review has a duty to discourage the filing of frivolous and vexatious writ applications as such unnecessary litigations makes it difficult for the court to adjudicate genuine litigations.”

While directing Behera to deposit the amount in the High Court Bar Association Advocates’ Welfare Fund within three weeks, the bench said, “The exemplary cost is being imposed to discourage the filing of such kind of petitions.”

Vaishnaw was elected to the Rajya Sabha on a BJP ticket from Odisha in 2019. He was re-elected from the state in 2024.

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The New Indian Express