Jolt for Hardik Patel as HC refuses conviction stay

In 2018, Hardik Patel and two others were convicted for rioting and arson and were sentenced to two years simple imprisonment by a court in Visnagar in Mehsana district. (Reuters File Photo)

In a big setback for Congress leader Hardik Patel, the Gujarat High Court on Friday refused to grant him stay on his conviction in a rioting case. The Patidar leader will not be able to contest Lok Sabha polls without the stay.

The last date for filing nomination is April 4 in Gujarat which goes for the polls in the third phase. His lawyers said that they will be approaching the Supreme Court on Monday with an urgent plea. 

As per provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, a person sentenced in a criminal case needs to get stay on conviction and sentence both before contesting polls. 

In 2018, Hardik Patel and two others were convicted for rioting and arson and were sentenced to two years simple imprisonment by a court in Visnagar in Mehsana district. 

The incident of rioting had taken place in 2015 during the Patidar protest for reservation. Mehsana district was the epicentre of agitation. Hardik is still not allowed to enter the periphery of the district as per the condition of bail.  

Hardik filed an appeal in the high court. During the hearing, the high court had suspended the sentence of two years but didn't deal with suspending and staying the conviction.  

Earlier this year he moved high court pleading that he is an "aspiring candidate to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha Election for the Member of Parliament but due to the conviction imposed by the Sessions Judge and non-suspending and not staying of his conviction by the Gujarat High Court, he is unable to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha Election, 2019."

He also said in the petition that "if the order of conviction is not stayed and suspended, then the appellant will suffer irreparable loss and he being the person of public life, social activist and leader of the community, his goal to serve the society at large by becoming Member of Parliament will ruin." It adds further that he has "all the chances to win the election and serve the society as the Member of Parliament."

The state government had strongly opposed his plea while arguing that a "lawbreaker" should not become a "lawmaker." The state government cited 17 FIRs against Hardik to prove that he has a criminal antecedent.  

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Jolt for Hardik Patel as HC refuses conviction stay

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