SC dismisses Fadnavis plea seeking review of its 2019 verdict

Devendra Fadnavis

New Delhi, March 3 (IANS) In a major setback to the former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis, the Supreme Court has rejected his plea seeking review of its 2019 judgement, where the court asked him to face trial for allegedly failing to bring on record the details of two pending criminal cases against him in the poll affidavit in 2014.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said that there is no merit in reviewing the judgement delivered by the top court in October last year.

“We find no ground to interfere in the review petitions. The same are dismissed,” said the Bench. This order was passed on February 18, but it was made available on the apex court website on Tuesday.

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on February 18 told the Supreme Court his fate has been sealed by its earlier order, and the judgement on his election matter could have wider ramifications on the candidates in the electoral fray. Fadnavis insisted to review the verdict in this matter.

The Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra after arguments on the matter had reserved the verdict. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Fadnavis, contended before the top court that this matter had the potential to have far reaching consequences on other candidates in the poll fray and the apex court needed to re-examine its October 1, 2019 decision.

Rohtagi submitted as per Section 33 A (1) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, there was no requirement to furnish information on criminal case unless charges have been framed by the trial court. He added mere cognizance by the court could not become a reason to reveal the criminal case. Rohatgi urged for the stay on the judgement, but the top court did not agree.

The court observed that it will keep the question raised by senior counsel open. “We are not sealing your fate”, said the court citing it will decide this question at the final stage.

Rohatgi also submitted that candidate can be criminally prosecuted for violating the two conditions — where a candidate has been convicted and not disclosing cases where charges have been framed.

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