In a setback to Congress, the Gujarat high court dismissed its disqualified MLA Bhaga Barad’s petition challenging the Election Commission’s announcement of bypolls for Talala seat in Gir Somnath district, which he represented.
The court noted arguments presented by the petitioner that had stated hasty decision on behalf of the ECI to announce Talala bypolls on March 10 when a stay on conviction had been ordered by the Gir Somnath sessions court on March 7.
Barad had been convicted on March 1 to two years nine months of rigorous imprisonment on a 24-year old limestone mining case, by a magistrate court. He was suspended on March 5 by Assembly speaker Rajendra Trivedi, noting which, the ECI announced bypolls.
However, the court noted that since a stay on conviction does not hold as of present day, disqualification remains. This comes in view of the March 15 verdict by Justice Sonia Gokani of the HC, who had set aside the sessions court’s stay on conviction and had remanded the case to the sessions court.
Noting the continued disqualification, the order Wednesday further stated that it was “not inclined to interfere in the Election Commission’s decision to announce bypolls.”
Dismissing Barad’s plea, the order was thus concluded, “At this stage, as it appears, we propose disposal of the matter by keeping all other issues open on both sides.”
Notably, Barad can approach the Supreme Court now to seek remedy but this order implies that Talala seat vacancy continues and bypolls for the seat will be conducted as scheduled, on April 23.