SC reserves order on plea against Fadnavis' election
New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its order on a plea challenging the election of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to the state Assembly for allegedly not disclosing criminal cases pending against him in his nomination papers.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi reserved the order after hearing both the parties. The bench noted that Fadnavis had not disclosed two cases pending against him.
Fadnavis' counsel and Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi said that it was ommission, which will not attract a penalty.
Advocate Rohatgi told the bench that as per rules, Fadnavis only had to furnish information of those cases in which charges have been framed against him.
The bench said that it would take into account whether Section 125(A) Representation of People's Act is attracted or not.
The top court was hearing a plea filed by Satish Ukey seeking to nullify Fadnavis's election to the Assembly in 2014 on grounds of alleged non-disclosure of two criminal cases pending against him in his election affidavit.
Ukey told the court that the BJP leader had concealed the fact, thus violating Section 125A of the Representation of People's Act.
Cases of alleged cheating and forgery were filed against Fadnavis in 1996 and 1998, respectively but charges were not framed. However, a local court in Maharashtra had taken cognizance of the complaint.
Responding to Ukey's plea, Fadnavis' counsel said that pendency of cases is not required to be mentioned in nomination papers as in these cases, charges were not framed against the BJP leader. He said that as per guidelines, only cases where charges have been framed against the accused are required to be mentioned.
He said that even the Bombay High Court had dismissed Ukey's plea, saying that a candidate has to disclose any pending criminal cases only if charges have been framed against him by a competent court.
Countering his submission, Ukey told the court that Fadnavis had to mention the pending cases in the election affidavit as the trial court has taken cognizance of the charge sheet.
The petitioner has challenged the Bombay High Court order which dismissed his plea seeking annulment of Fadnavis's election to the Assembly, observing that he had merely been summoned by the local court in both these cases.
Ukey has sought action against the BJP leader under provisions of the Representation of People Act, saying that it is mandatory for a candidate to disclose whether any criminal case is pending against him in any court for offences that could lead to a jail term of two years or more.