The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday adjourned for the fourth time the hearing on a petition challenging State Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama’s 2017 electoral win.
Congress leader Ashwin Rathod who contested against Chudasama in Dholka Assembly constituency has alleged in his petition that the returning officer illegally invalidated 429 postal ballots, resulting in Chudasama’s win by margin of a mere 327 votes.
Meanwhile, returning officer Dhaval Jani has now filed an election application, seeking modifications to the court’s April 2 order, which had taken note of several violations and breaches by Jani, as gathered from his deposition. Since the court’s April 2 order, Jani was transferred and relieved of Lok Sabha duties.
Both matters — Rathod’s petition as well as Jani’s election application seeking modification to April 2 order — have now been adjourned to June 25.
Notably, Rajasthan cadre IAS officer Vinita Bohra, who was the General Observer in Dholka constituency, was added as a respondent in the case on April 2. Bohra did not appear on the next date of hearing, April 16. The court learnt she had not received the notice, which was expected to have been served by the ECI. However, she was present on May 1, the next date of hearing, but without a legal representative. She requested that she be granted time to engage an advocate and file a reply, which was granted by the court to a week later. On May 8, Bohra’s advocates appeared but they sought time on the ground that they would need time to file a reply as they had not received a copy of the petition. The request was noted and the matter adjourned again to June 19.
While Bohra filed a reply on Wednesday, the matter has now been adjourned to June 25, so as to allow Jani to rebut or make submissions, if he deems fit.