TMC leader’s election petition rejected over “Bangladesh citizenship”
The Calcutta High Court has rejected the election petition of West Bengal's Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Alorani Sarkar, who lost last year's assembly poll from Bangaon Dakshin constituency on the grounds that she has dual citizenship of Bangladesh and India and cannot declare herself as "Indian", as the law of the country does not allow it.
Justice Bibek Chaudhuri said Alorani cannot declare herself as a citizen of India as she has her name on the voters' list in Bangladesh.
The High Court dismissed Alorani's petition in a ruling on Friday (May 20, 2022), reports our New Delhi correspondent.
Rejecting her petition, Justice Chaudhuri also directed India's Election Commission to take necessary actions against the petitioner, depending on the current status of her citizenship.
After losing Bangaon Dakshin seat in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal to BJP's Swapan Majumdar by a margin of 2,004 votes, Alorani had moved an election petition, challenging the poll result before the Calcutta High Court.
"The High Court has come to this conclusion that the petitioner filed the election petition claiming to be a citizen of India. She filed nomination papers as a citizen of India. She contested the election as a citizen of India. But from the documents filed and relied on by the petitioner in her affidavit-in-opposition, it is ascertained that in the month of June 2021, her application for deletion of her name from the electoral roll of Bangladesh was under consideration before the appropriate authority of the Election Commission of Bangladesh.
"Thus, her name was not deleted till 29th June 2021 from NID and Electoral Roll of Bangladesh. The record shows that the petitioner filed nomination to contest the state assembly seat of 96-Bangaon Dakshin of SC (Constituency) on 31st March 2021. The election was conducted on 22nd April 2021 and the result was published on 2nd May 2021. The election petition was filed on 11th June 2021. Therefore, admittedly on all the above dates, the name of the petitioner appeared on in the Electoral Roll of Bangladesh," said the court order.
Alorani's lawyer claimed in court that though born in West Bengal's Hooghly district in 1969, she became a Bangladeshi citizen after her marriage to Harendra Nath Sarkar in 1980 but she has left him because of matrimonial issues and returned to India.
The lawyer also said Alorani enrolled her name in the electoral roll of Bangladesh in 2012 "by mistake" and it came to her notice in 2020 when she requested the Election Commission secretariat in Dhaka to delete it.
Referring to the High Court order, BJP MLA and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Suvendu Adhikari tweeted, "TMC is guilty of violating the Sub-section 5 of Section 29A of The Representation of People's Act. Trying to get a foreign national elected, they failed to bear allegiance to the Constitution of India by compromising the sovereignty, unity & integrity of India."