The Supreme Court on Tuesday set aside the clean chit given to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in an election affidavit case where he had been accused of suppressing two criminal cases pending against him in his nomination papers. While the CM had insisted that he had hidden nothing, the ruling by a CJI led bench means that Fadnavis will have to face trial in the 2014 election case. Fadnavis had insisted that he hadn’t concealed any information in his affidavit.
Petitioner Satish Ukey had sought the CM’s disqualification as a legislator for not disclosing details of two criminal cases pending against him alleging that the CM did not disclose this in his 2014 election affidavit. It is mandatory for a candidate to disclose details of pending criminal cases against him. According to the Representation of People Act, a person convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than two years shall be disqualified from contesting elections for that period and a further six years after release.
Ukey had earlier filed a petition in the court of the judicial magistrate in Nagpur, but it was dismissed. He then approached the sessions court, which directed the judicial magistrate to reconsider its decision.
Fadnavis challenged the sessions court’s decision before the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court, which dismissed the case by upholding the judicial magistrate’s decision.
Ukey then challenged the high court’s decision in the Supreme Court. Reacting to the Supreme Court notice, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ office said no information had been concealed by Fadnavis in his election affidavit and that it had listed the details of all the cases filed against him.
“For 2014 assembly elections, the affidavit filed by the chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has information of all the cases registered against him. The petitioner had first approached the Bombay High Court and made same claims which the court rejected after finding them baseless. The court also initiated action for contempt of court against the petitioner asking him why no action should be taken for filing baseless petitions repeatedly,” said a statement issued by the chief minister’s office on Thursday.
—India Legal Bureau