HC gives 6 wks' time to Modi to file statement on election petition

HC gives 6 wks' time to Modi to file statement on election petition

HC gives 6 wks' time to Modi to file statement on election petition

The Allahabad High Court today granted six weeks' time to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for filing an "effective written statement" in reply to a petition challenging his election from Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency.

Justice V K Shukla granted six weeks' time to Modi, on whose behalf an application was moved under Order 8 Rule 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure "for according six weeks' time to the respondent to file his written statement".

Modi's election has been challenged by Congress MLA Ajay Rai, who had contested from Varanasi as the candidate of his party in the Lok Sabha elections held earlier this year.

Rai had alleged that Modi had left vacant the column meant for stating the PAN number of his wife Jashodaben, which was in violation of the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court.

Moreover, the petitioner had alleged that the money spent on the campaign for Modi was much in excess of the limit fixed by the Election Commission.

In its brief order, the court observed "in support of the said application in question, an affidavit has been filed wherein details have been given as to under what circumstances for filing of effective written statement the said time is required".

The court remarked that the "request that has been made contains sufficient reason to accord time...in view of the same, this court proceeds to accord six weeks' time to file written statement".

Modi had won from Varanasi, his first electoral appearance outside his home state of Gujarat, defeating his nearest rival Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party by a stunning margin of 3.7 lakh votes.

Rai, who represents Pindra Assembly segment falling in Varanasi district but a part of Machhlishahr Lok Sabha constituency, had finished a distant third polling less than one lakh votes in a virtually one-sided contest wherein more than 10 lakh people had exercised their franchise.

Enthused by his victory in Varanasi, Modi went on to retain the seat in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh, vacating Vadodara in Gujarat, from where he had won by a huge margin of 5.7 lakh votes.