The Supreme Court Monday fixed August 6 for hearing the plea of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel pertaining to his election to the Rajya Sabha in 2017 which has been challenged by rival BJP candidate Balwantsinh Rajput in the Gujarat High Court.
Patel has challenged the order of the Gujarat High Court’s by which it had dismissed his plea questioning the maintainability of Rajput’s election petition.
The apex court had declined to interfere with the October 26, 2018 order of the high court which had said that Rajput’s allegations required a trial.
Patel has filed three appeals against the orders of the high court which were tagged together by the apex court on Monday for final disposal on August 6.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi also clarified that the ongoing trial would continue and the parties can go ahead with recording evidence.
The apex court on January 3 had asked Patel to face trial on Rajput’s election petition challenging the Election Commission’s decision to invalidate the votes of the two rebel MLAs.
Had these votes been counted, he would have defeated Patel, the BJP leader had contended.
Patel was declared the winner after the Election Commission invalidated the votes of rebel Congress MLAs Bholabhai Gohel and Raghavjee Patel, bringing down the number of votes needed for victory to 44 from 45.
In the election petition before the high court, Rajput also alleged that Patel had taken Congress MLAs to a resort in Bengaluru before the election which amounted to “bribing the voters”.
In October 2018, the high court for the second time declined to give relief to Patel. Earlier, April 20, it had rejected Patel’s plea.
Patel had first moved the Supreme Court against the April 20, 2018 order, contending that the decision of the poll panel cannot be challenged by an election petition.
The apex court on September 26 last year had asked the Gujarat High Court to decide afresh a plea of Patel challenging the maintainability of a petition filed by Rajput. In October it dismissed Patel’s plea.