Setback for Cong as HC quashes stay on MLA's conviction

Last Updated 15 March 2019, 15:12 IST

In a setback to Congress leader Bhagabhai Barad, the Gujarat High Court on Friday quashed the stay granted on his conviction and sentence in a 24-year-old mining case by a lower court.

The high court said that the stay was granted without any reason and therefore, it needed to be quashed.

Justice Sonia Gokani pronounced the order on a petition moved by the state government challenging the stay granted by a sessions court in Veraval in Gir-Somnath district.

Justice Gokani observed that stay was not a reasoned order.

She held that the conviction of Barad is based on evidence and statements of witnesses whose testimonies do complete the chain of events.

Therefore, it was required from the sessions court to give reasoned order while granting stay on conviction and sentence.

Justice Gokani has remanded the matter back to the sessions court, directing it to hear the application afresh and decide it by mentioning reasons.

On March 1, Barad was convicted and sentenced to two years and nine months jail by a trial court in a case of illegal mining.

On March 5, speaker of Gujarat Assembly passed an order disqualifying Barad as an MLA from Talala constituency seat under section 8 of Representation of People Act, 1951.

Barad has also challenged his disqualification in the high court.

A different bench is hearing the case.

He has alleged that he was disqualified illegally by the speaker. A group of Congress leaders had protested the speaker's move on Thursday.

The fate of Barad as an MLA holds important in the state in the view of the fact that five Congress MLAs have defected to the BJP.

With these defections the tally of the Congress in the Assembly has come down to 71 from a total of 77.

(Published 15 March 2019, 14:33 IST)

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