New Delhi, July 3 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that it will hold, on July 23, the final hearing in a plea challenging the election of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to the state assembly for allegedly not disclosing pending criminal cases against him in his nomination papers.
A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Anirudhha Bose, slated the matter for final disposal on July 23.
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.
He contended 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 cognisance 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.