The Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed a petition filed by Sanjay Nirupam, the Mumbai Congress president, challenging the election of BJP’s Gopal Shetty to the Lok Sabha in 2014.
The petition was moved by Nirupam in 2014, seeking that the election of Shetty from the Mumbai North Parliamentary Constituency in the 16th Lok Sabha polls be declared null and void and be set aside. The petitioner was seeking disqualification alleging non-disclosure of assets by Shetty and his spouse in the nomination form.
Justice Mridula Bhatkar said: “I am of the view that in this petition, considering the facts and nature of the property, non-mentioning the said property in the nomination form and in the affidavit as an asset is not a substantive defect.”
According to the petitioner, Shetty was the owner of a plot in Borivali when he filled the nomination form. His company, Balaji Construction, assigned developmental rights to his wife’s firm, Jyoti Construction, which constructed a building on the plot. Shetty did not mention the same or the assets of Jyoti Construction, owned by his wife and son, in the nomination form.
Shetty’s lawyer told the court that the plot was under his name since 2000. Thereafter, Jyoti Construction, a partnership firm, constructed the entire building, an SRA project, and the flats in 2005. In the same year, the society was registered under the Maharashtra Registration Act and a certificate was issued.
The lawyer also told the court that all the flats of the sale component were sold between 2004 and 2010. “Thus, when the respondent filled the nomination form, he was not the owner of the said property as all the flats were sold before 2010 and the society was registered,” Shetty’s lawyer told the court.
He added, “All the assessment and other taxes are paid by the society to the corporation. Under such circumstances, he had no right, title or interest in the said plot and the value of the said plot was zero. If he would have disclosed this property in his name, then, that would have been considered as a false statement made by him as the process of development was complete.”