Supreme Court Reprieve For Gujarat Minister Whose Election Was Cancelled [15.5.2020]

New Delhi: 

The Supreme Court, in an interim order, has put on hold a Gujarat High Court order cancelling the election of Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, the state's Education and Law Minister, as an MLA in 2017 on grounds of malpractice and manipulation. The court also issued a notice to Congress leader Aswhin Rathod, who had lost that election by a mere 327 votes.

"In many such cases we stay the High Court order," the Supreme Court said in its ruling.

In the hearing Mr Chudasama's lawyers argued that the Gujarat High Court should have called for the 429 postal ballots that had been "illegally rejected" during the counting process to see if their rejection was in accordance with the rules.

Congress leader Kapil Sibal, arguing for his party colleague, said that if the votes had not been counted in the first place, they could not be declared as rejected.

The top court then said it was "inclined to stay the order", something Mr Sibal opposed. The court overruled that, saying: "In many such cases we stay the High Court order".

Mr Chudasama, 70, moved the top court a day after the Gujarat High Court declared his election "void", saying that Dhaval Jani, the returning officer, had been "hand in gloves" with the BJP leader and that 429 postal ballots had been "illegally rejected".

15 May 2020