Important documents of election petition moved by BJP leader Balwantsinh Rajput have gone missing from the records of Gujarat High Court. The court after finding that the documents were missing ordered an inquiry and sought a report in a week.
The revelation came while Rajput was being cross-examined by the lawyer of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel. Rajput has challenged the victory of Ahmed Patel in Rajya Sabha elections held in August, 2017.
Justice Bela Trivedi directed the register general (judicial) to inquire into the matter and submit the report in sealed cover in a week. The court noticed this when senior counsel B B Naik appearing with advocate P S Champaneri for respondent No.1 (Ahmed Patel) sought to show a copy of the Election Petition to Rajput during his cross-examination. After verification of the entire file, it was found that the copy of petition and summons produced along with the list at exhibit number 30 at the relevant time was not in the file.
Justice Trivedi sought explanation from registry officials who reported that they had received a request from Champaneri on January 24, asking for simple copy of entire proceeding. The copy was provided to Champaneri’s clerk Abdul Shaikh. The section officer also told the court that previously on September 15, 2018 and January 21, 2019 also, Champaneri had requested in writing to furnish photocopy of petition memo with all annexures, which were furnished to his clerk.
“Since, the said document namely the copy of the Election Petition along with summons produced by respondent no.1 along with list at Exh.30 is an important document, which is found to be missing from the file, an inquiry in this regard is required to be held in the matter,” justice Trivedi wrote in the order. She directed High Court registrar general H D Suthar to hold the inquiry.
Justice Trivedi orally told the registry officials that how could they give simple copy. “No one can touch the file when the matter is in the court. Do you realise the sensitivity of this case,” Trivedi asked them.