The Supreme Court on Tuesday set aside a Bombay High Court order exonerating Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis of charges of failing to provide details of two pending criminal cases against him in his 2014 Assembly election affidavit, PTI reported. The chief minister may have to face trial for allegedly suppressing the criminal cases against him.
The bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said the case against Fadnavis was made out under Section 125 of the Representation of People Act, according to Bar and Bench.
The court said Fadnavis had knowledge of but did not mention the criminal cases in his poll affidavit.
The petitioner Satish Ukey alleged that Fadnavis did not disclose pending criminal cases against him while filing his nomination papers for the 2009 and 2014 Assembly elections, and thus violated the Representation of People’s Act, 1951.
Ukey had moved the Supreme Court after his plea was dismissed by the Bombay High Court. He said that the chief minister was required to disclose all pending cases against him under Section 33A (1) of the Representation of People’s Act.
He alleged that in the election affidavit filed in 2014, Fadnavis had failed to disclose the pendency of two criminal cases against him. The two cases of alleged cheating and forgery were filed against Fadnavis in 1996 and 1998.
Maharashtra CMO denies Supreme Court has ordered prosecution
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Chief Minister’s Office said it is “totally wrong and contemptuous” to say that the Supreme Court has allowed Fadnavis’ prosecution, PTI reported. In its statement, the CMO said the complainant had moved a trial court, claiming that two cases, which were based on private complaints filed by a lawyer against the chief minister, were not mentioned in the affidavit.
The case was dismissed by the trial court, following which the complainant approached the sessions court, the CMO added. The sessions court set aside the judgement and remanded it back to the trial court, saying it has not passed a speaking order. The chief minister challenged the sessions court judgement in the Bombay High Court, which set aside the sessions court order and said no case is made out against Fadnavis.
The complainant then went to the Supreme Court, which remanded the case back to the trial court, the CMO said. “Hence, it will again be heard in the trial court to ascertain whether a case for prosecution is made out or not,” the office said. “Hence, it is totally wrong and contemptuous to say that the Supreme Court has allowed prosecution.”
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