The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ plea seeking a review of its 2019 judgement that asked him to face trial for allegedly concealing information in his 2014 election affidavit about two criminal cases, News18 reported. Fadnavis will now face trial in the two cases of alleged cheating and forgery that were filed against him in 1996 and 1998.
A three-judge bench of the top court comprising of Justices Arun Mishra, Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said, “We find no ground to interfere in the review petitions,” according to the Hindustan Times. “The same are dismissed,” the bench added.
The Bharatiya Janata Party leader had challenged the Supreme Court verdict of 2019 that had declined to interfere with the criminal proceedings against him. In February, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for Fadnavis, had told a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra that the Bharatiya Janata Party leader did not give any false information. Rohatgi had claimed that Fadnavis was wrongly prosecuted.
“This will seal my fate,” Rohtagi had told the court on behalf of Fadnavis. “ It is an important question as it affects Article 21 [of the Constitution],” he said, referring to the fundamental right to life and liberty. “This is a matter which requires a re-look.”
The top court had then reserved its verdict on the matter.
Fadnavis had told the court that the matter will have “far reaching consequences” for other candidates as well and hence the bench must re-examine its October 1, 2019 order. “What if cognisance was taken in an offence yesterday and I file my poll affidavit tomorrow?” he had asked.
On October 1 last year, the Supreme Court set aside the Bombay High Court order exonerating Fadnavis. The bench said the case against Fadnavis was made out under Section 125 of the Representation of People Act. The court said Fadnavis had knowledge of but did not mention the criminal cases in his poll affidavit. It then directed the magistrate’s court to go ahead with the application.
The top court’s verdict had come on an appeal by Satish Ukey, who had challenged the High Court’s order. 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.