The Gujarat High Court on Friday partly allowed state Congress working president Hardik Patel’s plea to travel outside the state and granted him permission to move outside the state for 17 days.
The high court had on November 4 sought the itinerary of his plan to travel outside the state after he had sought a temporary modification of his bail condition, primarily on the ground that Patel was a “star campaigner” for the Congress in the Bihar Assembly polls, and required to travel to New Delhi owing to legal consultation for the ongoing litigations at the Supreme Court.
On Friday, the high court allowed Patel to travel outside the state between November 11 and December 2, but said he will not conduct or attend any rally and “not indulge himself into any political activity or shall not indulge into any kind of activity which would constitute any offence” during the period.
Advocate Anand Yagnik, appearing for the Congress leader, submitted Friday Patel’s itinerary to travel outside Gujarat before Justice RM Sareen, who was seized of the matter. It stated that Patel planned to enjoy his first vacation with his wife in Rajasthan, and then perform the last rites of an uncle at either Haridwar or Devprayag.
The court, in its order, recorded, “The applicant (Hardik Patel) is permitted to travel outside the local limits of Gujarat state from 11.11.2020 to 13.11.2020 i.e. Delhi for political reasons, from 18.11.2020 to 23.11.2020 i.e. Rajasthan for a vacation with his wife, from 24.11.2020 to 28.11.2020 i.e. Delhi for conferences with advocates at Supreme Court and from 29.11.2020 to 01.12.2020 for Haridwar or Devprayag, at Uttarakhand, as the case may be depending upon the advice of elders and traditions that follows – for last rites of an uncle, as per the schedule submitted.”
The court further stated Patel would have to return to Gujarat on or before December 2, and since his itinerary reflected that he planned to be in the state between November 14 and 17, “no permission is granted for the said period of four days”.
Justice Sareen said, “In case of any change in the above schedule, for which permission has been granted by this court… the applicant shall inform the concerned police station and to the office of the public prosecutor.”
Patel, who was appointed working president of state Congress in July, Friday told The Indian Express, “I am yet to meet the (Congress) high command in (New) Delhi, so I have plans to meet them… There are also plans in Rajasthan and Maharashtra to hold discussions on the farm legislations with some local NGOs for the public… It was in a sedition case where a bail condition was once imposed that I cannot enter Gujarat (in July 2016, by the Gujarat High Court) and then an Ahmedabad sessions court imposed a condition that I can’t go out of Gujarat.”
The bail condition stipulating him to seek prior permission of the court before leaving the state was imposed on Patel in January after he was arrested for failing to appear before an Ahmedabad trial court in connection with an FIR filed in 2015 by the crime branch, wherein he was charged with sedition during the Patidar agitation. While granting him bail, the trial court had then imposed the condition that he would be required to seek prior permission of the court before leaving the local limits of Gujarat.
Patel had first moved the Ahmedabad sessions court seeking a temporary suspension, for a duration of 12 weeks, of the bail condition. The Congress leader had then submitted that he wanted to campaign for the party for the Bihar Assembly elections. In September, the lower court rejected his plea following which Patel challenged the decision before the Gujarat High Court.
The final phase of polling for the Bihar state election will be held Saturday, while the first two phases of polling were held on October 28 and November 3.
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