Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis To Face Trial For Suppressing Criminal Cases In Poll Affidavit
In a massive jolt to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the clean chit given to him by the Bombay High Court, in a case registered against him for failing to disclose two pending criminal cases in his 2014 assembly election affidavit.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and comprising of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose stated that a case had been made for the prosecution of Fadnavis. “The respondent (Fadnavis) has the knowledge of the two pending cases,” the bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, said.
On July 23, the top court, while reserving the verdict, had said that the alleged “omission” by Fadnavis of not disclosing information about two criminal cases in his election affidavit in the 2014 assembly polls might be decided in the trial.
Devendra Fadnavis had contested the assembly elections from Nagpur South-West constituency in 2014. He had submitted his nomination paper along with the requisite documents and affidavit as prescribed under Rule 4A of the Conduct of Elections Rules. The apex court directed the trial court to hear the case again.
The petition was filed by an advocate, Satish Uke who had challenged the election of Fadnavis on the ground that he had not disclosed details of two criminal cases against him while filing his nomination in 2014. The two cases of alleged cheating and forgery were filed against Fadnavis in 1996 and 1998, but charges were not framed.
The petitioner had claimed that the non-disclosure was in violation of Section 125A of the Representation of the People Act. Under this section, if a candidate or his proposer fails to furnish or gives false information or conceals it on issues like pending criminal cases, in the nomination paper, then the person may be awarded six months jail term or fine or both.
The trial court had said in its order that it would not entertain the petition. The Bombay High Court had upheld the trial court’s order.