Updated: March 7, 2021 3:31:30 am
A local Vadodara court has admitted a petition challenging the election of BJP leader Keyur Rokadia, who recently won the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) polls from ward number 8 of the civic body, on the contention that Rokadia’s resignation from the Fee Regulation Committee was against the rules prescribed in the Act notified by the Gujarat government.
The petition, filed by Swejal Vyas, who also contested as an independent from the same ward, contends that Rokadia was to be treated as a ‘public servant’ at the time when he filed his nomination for the election and therefore, should have been invalidated.
The petition, which attaches various relevant documents pertaining to the appointment of the Fee Regulation Committee (FRC) as well as a trail of email communication from the FRC committee of Vadodara and the education department, which was submitted to the Returning officer (RO) of Ward 8 on the day of the scrutiny of forms of the candidates. Vyas has contended that the RO had cleared Rokadia’s form even before the email arrived, despite the fact that the resignation “cannot be approved on email.”
The Gujarat Government Gazette, published on April 2017, for the notification of the Gujarat Self Financed Schools (Regulation of Fees) Act, 2017, states, “The Chairperson or members may resign after giving one month’s notice to the State Government and the registration shall be effective from the date of acceptance of the same by the State government.”
As per the Gazette, the five members for FRC in Vadodara are Retired District Judge Ganpatsinh Rana as the chairperson and Aarti Bhatt, Umeshkumar Patel, Suryakant Shastri and Keyur Rokadia as members.
Rokadia, who has previously been the Chairman of the VMC School Board, was also the General Secretary of the city’s BJP unit before contesting his maiden civic election this year. His candidature was announced on February 5 by the BJP, following which, Rokadia had submitted his resignation as FRC member. The scrutiny of the nomination forms was held on February 8.
The petition also contends that Rokadia attended the FRC meeting on February 3, after the elections had already been announced and accepted the honorarium.
Advocate Shailesh Amin, who was Vyas’ election agent for the polls said, “The entire nomination of Rokadia is illegal because they have clearly subverted the process in place for the resignation from a public office notified by the Gazette. Not only did he not serve the mandatory 30-day notice period, but he also attended a meeting of the FRC on February 3 after the elections were already announced.”
Rokadia said, “My resignation had been accepted on February 5 and I had submitted the relevant documents of the acceptance of resignation. I had submitted two forms on February 5 and 6. My form submitted on February 6 was accepted and not the one submitted on February 5.”
On attending the FRC meeting, he said, “It is true that I attended the meeting but did not take the honorarium and the same has been taken on the official record, so the question of office of profit does not arise.
Rokadia, who is a frontrunner for the Mayor’s post in Vadodara — to be decided on March 10 — also dismissed the contention of the one month notice. “The discretion of accepting the resignation of the member lies with the government. The government can accept the resignation at the moment it has been tendered… My resignation, as well as that of another FRC member from Ahmedabad, was accepted in a similar manner on the same day.”
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