Former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was exempted by a local JMFC court from personal appearance for a day on Wednesday in connection with a criminal case relating to his 2014 Assembly election affidavit.
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A local lawyer, Satish Uke had moved the court in 2014 against Fadnavis not mentioning two criminal cases dating back to 1996 and 1998 registered against Fadnavis in the affidavit, seeking cancellation of his subsequent election.
The then JMFC court had granted relief to Fadnavis in its verdict while dismissing Uke’s contention. Uke had then moved the Sessions Court that had set aside the JMFC order and had asked the lower court to hear Uke’s plea again.
Fadnavis had then moved the High Court, which set aside the Sessions Court order. Uke had challenged the HC order in the Supreme Court, which had set aside the HC order and had directed that the case be heard again in the JMFC court. Accordingly, first hearing was held last month in which Judge S D Mehta had directed the then CM to appear before it on December 4.
During the hearing on Wednesday, however, Fadnavis lawyer Uday Dable filed an application seeking exemption from appearance on the ground that Fadnavis wasn’t able to attend “due to some unavoidable circumstances”.
When Uke opposed the plea, Dable argued that his client was a well-known person and that his identity is not concealed. He also said since he (Dable) was representing Fadnavis as a lawyer, there should be no doubts about his (Fadnavis) intentions.
Uke then sought an earlier date for the next hearing. Dable, however, sought a later date arguing that Fadnavis had become Leader of the Opposition and had a lot of preparatory work to do for the forthcoming winter session of the State Legislature beginning here on December 16.
The court agreed to grant exemption for the day but directed Fadnavis to remain present on the next date, which the court fixed as January 4. Asked if Fadnavis would remain present in the court on January 4, Dable told mediapersons that he won’t bee able to say anything in that regard today.