The Supreme Court on Friday put a stay on the the Gujarat High Court order setting side the election of state minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama to the assembly in 2017. The high court had set aside his election on grounds of “corrupt practice” and “manipulation of record”.
A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and B R Gavai issued a notice on Chudasama’s plea and also sought a response from Congress candidate Ashwin Rathod, who had challenged the minister’s election, in this regard.
Chudasama, who holds charge of multiple departments including education, law and justice, legislative and parliamentary affairs in the BJP government led by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, was elected from Dholka constituency after defeating the Congress by a margin of 327 votes in the 2017 Assembly polls.
While challenging Chudasama’s election, Rathod had alleged that the returning officer, Dhaval Jani, had illegally rejected 429 votes received via postal ballot.
The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday had set aside Chudasama’s election in 2017 on grounds of “corrupt practice” and “manipulation of record”. Justice Paresh Upadhyay noted in his judgment that during Jani’s deposition, it was learnt that a total of 1,356 votes were received via postal ballot, of which 429 were rejected by him at the time of counting of votes.
However, the court said, while seeking authorisation from the poll observer to declare the results, Jani showed the total votes received via postal ballot and taken into consideration at the time of counting as 927.
When contacted, Chudasama had then told The Indian Express: “We are preparing to file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court. We are hopeful of filing it within a day or two.”
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