Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Mehsana Riots: Supreme Court stays conviction of Hardik Patel

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The Supreme Court has today stayed the conviction of Gujarat Congress President Hardik Patel in Mehsana rioting case of 2015 

A Bench comprising of Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Justice Vikram Nath also agreed with the Gujarat High Court to have stayed Patel’s conviction.

Supreme Court has thus proceeded to grant relief to Patel.

“Having heard Senior Counsel Maninder Singh and having regard to the facts and circumstances, we are of the view that this is the fit case for high court to have stayed the conviction. The conviction is, hereby, stayed until the appeals are decided accordingly” 

the Court directed.

Hardik Patel had lead the Patidar agitation in 2015 which demanded reservation for Patidar community. The agitation turned violent and  BJP MLA’s office was vandalised.

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Trial court convicted Patel for his role in riots for offences of arson rioting, damage to property and unlawful assembly.Hardik Patel approached the Gujarat High Court prior to the 2019 General elections for a stay, however his request was outrightly rejected failing which he was unable to contest in the polls.

After not getting favorable response, he moved to the top court.

“Not allowing me contest election is a violation of my right to freedom of expression. It is a violation. I have already lost one chance to contest election in 2019,” Senior Counsel Maninder Singh said on behalf of Patel.

Hardik maintains the misuse of police powers in the State“We are before your lordships to get our rights under Article 19(1)(a) to be enforced. I am not a serious killer. They have misused the police power. Therefore, I don’t know what they have to say, but my lords must decide this case soon,” Singh submitted.

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Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General (SG) who is  representing the State of Gujarat said that. the matter should be decided based on parameters in criminal law , while Patel contesting election is  an issue before the Court.

“In criminal law, there is no one standard guidelines to say which one is right. Your lordship may decide the issue. Whether Patel might have won or not, is not the issue in this case” 

-he contended.

Tushar Mehta concluded by saying that Patel has another case one case under Section 395 IPC (dacoity against him)He also mentioned that “There is one case under section 395 IPC, which is really serious,”  The Court after hearing both sides proceeded to grant interim relief.

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