SC asks Ahmed Patel to face trial in election petition

SC asks Ahmed Patel to face trial in election petition

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel. PTI

The Supreme Court on Thursday told senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel to face trial proceedings in a petition filed by his rival BJP candidate challenging his election to the Rajya Sabha in 2017.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul refused to stay the Gujarat High Court's order of October 26, 2018, which found that the allegations made by BJP candidate Balwant Singh Rajput required a trial.

“The High Court shall proceed with the trial of the election petition,” the bench said.

The top court also clarified that its order will be in super-session of all such interim orders that may have been passed earlier.

It put Patel's special leave petition for final disposal in February.

Patel had challenged the high court order which had dismissed his plea questioning the maintainability of Rajput's election petition.

Rajput in his election petition had challenged the Election Commission's decision to invalidate the votes of the two rebel MLAs. Had these votes been counted, he would have defeated Patel, he claimed.

In the election petition before the high court, Rajput also claimed that Patel had taken Congress MLAs to a resort in Bengaluru before the election which amounted to "bribing the voters".

On Thursday, senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi along with advocate Devadutt Kamat appeared for Patel in the apex court.

Senior advocates Maninder Singh and Satya Pal Jain represented Rajput and other respondents in the matter.