Saturday, 24 October 2015

Bombay High Court rejects plea against CM in election petition

NAGPUR: Granting respite to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court rejected an election petition alleging him of suppressing material facts in an affidavit filed with State Election Commission while contesting from South West constituency last year.
"Merely because Fadnavis was released on bail bond of Rs3,000 on September 18, 2000, that by itself doesn't mean that prior to the date of delivery of nomination paper, either the case was pending against him or the court had taken cognizance of offences alleged against him. Lack of pleading of such material facts becomes fatal for the court to proceed on trial," a single-judge bench of Justice Ravi Deshpande tersely observed, while dismissing the election petition filed by lawyer Satish Uke.
The petitioner challenged Fadnavis' elections under Section 100(1)(d)(i) and (iv) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, for improper acceptance of his nomination papers by the returning officer. He contended that the CM deliberately suppressed pendency of two criminal cases against him in the affidavit, thus misleading the voters.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had rejected Uke's special leave petition (SLP) challenging the Nagpur bench orders of January 16 that had dismissed his application against the CM while censuring him for tendency of wasting precious judicial time on the basis of "half-baked knowledge of law". His application claimed that Fadnavis, in connivance with government pleader Bharti Dangre, had committed criminal conspiracy, and interfered in administration of justice that amounts to contempt of court, forgery and perjury. He also accused Fadnavis for misusing his position as CM to influence entire machinery.
"Making such wild allegations against persons holding responsible positions like the CM and Government Pleader (GP) is thoroughly irresponsible and his application was gross abuse of process of law," the HC had ruled, which was later upheld by the apex court bench comprising Justice Jagdish Singh Kehar and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel .
Earlier, while representing the CM, senior counsel Sunil Manohar assisted by Deven Chauhan strongly opposed the petitioner's allegations contending that cases against the CM were essentially of civil suits for which no summons were issued to him. The lawyers questioned maintainability of the petition stating that both parties settled pending criminal cases mentioned by the petitioner.
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