In another blow to senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, the Gujarat High Court on Thursday rejected an election application filed by him asking that the copy of an election petition that he received in September 2017 be checked by the Forensics Science Laboratory, to check if it indeed was a true copy.
Mincing no words, Justice Bela Trivedi called Patel’s application as one containing “absolutely incongruous and inconsistent averments”. Patel’s application cast doubts whether the copy of the election petition he received along with the court summons in 2017 contained the original signature of the petitioner BJP leader Balwantsinh Rajput on all the pages or whether the signatures were “photocopies of Rajput’s signatures”.
The court noted that no such doubt had been raised since 2017 either in Patel’s written statement, his earlier election applications that have since been disposed of or in his affidavit that had been filed last week before his deposition began. The court observed that “…it is incomprehensible as to how only the signatures on each page of the Election Petition could be photocopied without the pages on which such signatures appear being photocopied….It is nowhere stated in the present application that the entire copy of the Election Petition bearing signatures of the petitioners of the petitioner on each page thereof, served (to Patel) was the photocopy of the Election Petition tendered or presented in court.”
The court strictly observed that the timing of moving such an application was a delaying tactic. “….The facts (with respect to the delay in filing such an application despite multiple opportunities to do the same earlier) alone are suggestive of the fact that a new line of defence which was never taken in the written statement or in the election application (of 2017) was sought to be created in order to prolong the trial,” Justice Trivedi noted while dismissing the application.
The original election petition is currently at a stage where the evidence taking on behalf of Rajput has concluded after 21 witnesses were examined and the deposition of Patel himself is also over. The next hearing is now scheduled for Friday.