Petition filed in Bombay HC to nullify 2019 election of Devendra Fadnavis, 2014 case in SC today

In another setback for former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, a petition filed in Bombay HC alleges that Fadnavis has filed an erroneous affidavit along with his nomination papers

Petition filed in Bombay HC to nullify 2019 election of Devendra Fadnavis, 2014 case in SC today

Ashlin Mathew

In another setback for former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, a petition has been filed in the Bombay High Court alleging that Fadnavis has filed an erroneous affidavit along with his nomination papers ahead of the elections in the state. The lawyer has asked the HC to nullify his election.

Additionally, the case against Fadnavis for allegedly failing to furnish details of two pending criminal cases in his election affidavit in 2014 will come in front of the CJI Ranjan Gogoi on Wednesday, November 13. Uke has requested permission to place on record subsequent facts.

The petition filed on Monday, November 11, by Nagpur-based lawyer Satish Uke at the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court states that the nomination papers filed by Fadnavis have given two different names of the notary representing him – Purushottam Narendra Sontakey and Purushottam Moreshwar Sontakey. Uke has alleged that Fadnavis deliberately misspelled it on the Form 26 Affidavit so that the contents of the Affidavit then cannot be contested. Form 26 affidavit is submitted by every candidate along with the nomination papers and it includes details such as income tax, dependents, education, assets, loans, and criminal cases.

This, Satisk Uke, says is to cover up for his omission in his affidavit in 2014 so that it cannot be contested and if it cannot be contested, then no criminal cases can be filed against him. This is so that he would no be debarred from contesting.

Uke also states in his petition that the affidavit filed by Devendra Fadnavis had forged notary impressions and also, they were filed after 3 pm on October 4, 2019, which was the last day for filing of nomination papers for the Maharashtra elections.

But, that’s not all that is erroneous with the 2019 nomination papers. According to the petition, the Returning Officer (RO) Ghadge had accepted an invalid affidavit. And this was why the RO did not immediately reveal to the public the contents of the Affidavit.

According to the petition, the Affidavit was filed in a sealed cover and when the RO was about to open it in front of everyone, the advocate representing Fadnavis gestured that it wasn’t to be opened in front of everyone.

Uke states in his petition that he was waiting outside the RO’s office, but as soon as the nomination was filed, cops were called in and the area was barricaded. It was only after 5.45 pm on October 4, 2019, which was the last day of filing the nomination, that the document was put up.

Every nomination can be challenged and when Uke questioned the nomination in front of the RO, the advocate representing Fadnavis told the returning officer in Marathi that those challenging the nomination should go to court, states the petition. The advocate who represented Fadnavis in front of the Returning Officer Ghadge has not submitted any authorising document, as is compulsory, states the petitioner in his petition.

Uke alleges that the Affidavit has inaccuracies and cannot be legally admissible. As the nomination papers were filed in a sealed envelope, Uke petition states that it was not possible for anyone to know which and how many papers have been illegally inserted in collusion with the Returning Officer as a part of the nomination of Devendra Fadnavis.

The petition requests the RO to show all the papers which came out of the envelope as the RO refused to do so. He has also asked for the CCTV footage of the room to check what all happened and it has been demanded under the Representation of the People’s Act.

In his petition before the HC, Uke has asked the court to order the Election Commission to take cognisance of the illegalities alleges against Devendra Fadnavis.

On October 1, 2019, the Supreme Court set aside the Bombay High Court’s order giving a clean chit to Fadnavis and observed that a case under Section 125 of the Representation of Peoples (RP) Act was made out against the chief minister. The division bench comprising Gogoi, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose directed the trial court to proceed with the case.

The apex court, while reserving the verdict, had said that the alleged “omission” by Fadnavis not disclosing information about two criminal cases in his election affidavit may be decided at the time of the trial. Section 125 of the RP Act deals with the penalty for “filing false affidavit” and states that “if a candidate or his proposer fails to furnish or gives false or conceals any information in his nomination paper on issues like pending criminal cases then the person may be awarded six months jail term or fine or both”.

This petition had also been filed by Satish Uke against Fadnavis for ‘suppressing the truth’. The two cases of alleged cheating and forgery were filed against Fadnavis in 1996 and 1998 but charges were not framed. Fadnavis had not mentioned these pending cases against him in his nomination affidavit, Uke alleged.

Uke had also filed a case in the Bombay High Court demanding compensation for the family of CBI judge BH Loya, whose sudden death has led to several speculations of whether it was a murder. Uke submitted documents obtained from government offices to argue that since Loya was traveling to Nagpur for government work on the day of his death, his family must get compensation

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Published: 13 Nov 2019, 9:12 AM