Gujarat Congress MLA Barad's disqualification revoked

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Four months after his conviction was stayed and following his repeated pleadings to reinstate him as a legislator, the Gujarat Assembly speaker on Wednesday revoked the disqualification of Congress MLA Bhagabhai Barad with immediate effect. It had taken barely two days for the speaker to disqualify the MLA following his conviction in a 24-years-old mineral theft case.

“I have revoked the disqualification of Bhaghabhai Barad after considering all the legal aspects. After high court’s order that stayed his conviction, Barad sent a simple application which I couldn’t have accepted legally. I asked him to send application with all relevant original documents. And, after taking legal opinions, I passed the order today revoking his disqualification as a legislator,” state Assembly speaker Rajendra Trivedi told DH.

“Since the sentence was more than two years and there was no stay on his conviction, Barad was automatically disqualified under the provisions (under section 8 of Representation of People Act, 1951) which are very clear,” Trivedi said.

Barad, a senior Congress leader, won Talala Assembly seat in Junagadh district in 2017 election. In March this year, he was disqualified by the speaker, after a magisterial court sentenced him to two years and nine months rigorous imprisonment in the mining theft case.

As a matter of fact, days after his disqualification, the election commission issued notification for conducting bypoll for Talala seat. In his appeal against disqualification as well as bypoll, Barad alleged that not only his disqualification as was ordered in "haste" but also notification for by-election.

On March 1, the magisterial court had found Barad guilty of mining 2,83,525 metric tonnes of limestone worth Rs 2.83 crore illegally from a pastoral land of Sutrapada town in Junagadh.

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