SC refuses urgent hearing on plea by Hardik Patel 

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a plea for urgent hearing made by Gujarat's Patidar leader Hardik Patel, who recently joined Congress party, on his petition to stay conviction in a rioting case. DH file photo

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a plea for urgent hearing made by Gujarat's Patidar leader Hardik Patel, who recently joined Congress party, on his petition to stay conviction in a rioting case.

The Gujarat High Court had on March 29 declined to stay the conviction disabling him to file his nomination papers in the Lok Sabha elections.

On Tuesday, Patel's counsel mentioned his petition before a bench presided over by Justice Arun Mishra, seeking an urgent hearing.

The Gujarat government, represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, opposed his plea saying the conviction made in August 2018 was now being challenged by the petitioner.

The bench, also comprising Justices Mohan M Shantanagoudar and Navin Sinha, also asked, "Did you challenge your conviction when the sentence was stayed?"

"When the order of conviction and sentence is of August 2018, there is no urgency now," the bench said.

Patel had on Monday approached the top court challenging the high court's order refusing to stay his conviction.

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

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

The last date for filing nomination is scheduled as April 4.

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

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

According to Section 8(3) of the Representation of 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 pending 17 FIRs against him, Patel said 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 “lawmaker”.  

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SC refuses urgent hearing on plea by Hardik Patel 

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