Hardik Patel moves SC for stay on conviction

Hardik Patel moves SC for stay on conviction

Patel had started preparations to contest from Jamnagar on a Congress ticket after joining the party on March 12 and the last date for filing of nominations is April 4. PTI File photo

Gujarat's Patidar leader Hardik Patel, who recently joined the Congress, approached the Supreme Court on Monday challenging the high court's order refusing to stay his conviction in a rioting and arson case, disabling him from filing his nomination papers for the Lok Sabha elections.

He sought a direction to suspend the conviction order passed on July 25, 2018, by a sessions court in Mahesana in Visnagar. He also challenged the validity of the high court's order of March 29 refusing his plea for a stay on the conviction.

“If the conviction is not stayed, the petitioner may lose the right to contest upcoming Lok Sabha elections of 2019,” Hardik contended in his petition.

The last date for filing nominations is April 4.

He cited the apex court's judgement in the Navjot Singh Sidhu case (2007), to contend that the top court should consider the consequences and irreparable loss he would suffer if the conviction was not stayed.

Hardik maintained that the high court had, by an order on August 8, 2018, already suspended the operation of the two-year sentence, so the suspension of conviction would not in any way prejudice the interest of the state.

According to Section 8(3) of the Representation of the People Act, a person convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than two years shall be disqualified from the date of such conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years.

As the state government had cited 17 FIRs pending against him, Patel said the high court erred in considering the pendency of criminal investigations to decide against him.

The Gujarat government had opposed his plea, maintaining the “law-breaker” should not be allowed to be “law-maker”.