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SC setback for Fadnavis in poll affidavit case

Source: PTI
March 03, 2020 14:00 IST

In a setback to former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, the Supreme Court of India dismissed his plea seeking a review of its 2019 verdict asking him to face trial for allegedly failing to furnish details of two pending criminal cases against him in his 2014 poll affidavit. 

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said that there was no ground to review the verdict pronounced last year. 

"We find no ground to interfere in the review petitions. The same are dismissed," said the bench also comprising justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose. 

The order was passed on February 18 but it was uploaded on the apex court website on Tuesday. 

 

While seeking a review of the 2019 verdict, Fadnavis had told the court that there was a "clear error" in the apex court's judgment as the law stipulates for disclosure of details about criminal cases only if charges are framed and on conviction. 

In its October 1, 2019, judgment, the apex court had set aside a Bombay high court order which gave a clean chit to Fadnavis and held that he did not deserve to be tried for the alleged offence under the Representation of Peoples Act (RPA). 

The verdict had come on an appeal by one Satish Ukey, who had challenged the high court's order. 

The apex court had last year revived a criminal complaint filed against Fadnavis for allegedly failing to furnish details of two pending criminal cases in his 2014 election affidavit and had asked the trial court to consider it afresh. 

The top court had allowed the appeal by Ukey, who had filed a criminal complaint against Fadnavis before a magisterial court in Nagpur, seeking registration of a case against him under section 125-A of the RP Act. 

Section 125-A of the RP Act deals with the penalty for "filing false affidavit" and says that if a candidate or his proposer fails to furnish or gives false or conceals any information in his nomination paper on issues like pending criminal cases, then the person may be awarded six months' jail term or fine or both. 

Ukey had initially moved a magisterial court, which had dismissed his complaint against Fadnavis on September 7, 2015. 

Later, he moved the sessions court, which remanded the matter to the magisterial court for a "de novo" (afresh) consideration. 

Aggrieved by the sessions court order, Fadnavis had moved the high court which, on May 3, 2018, set it aside. 

Ukey alleged that Fadnavis had failed to disclose the pendency of two criminal cases against him in his election affidavit filed in 2014. 

The two complaints of alleged cheating and forgery were filed against Fadnavis in 1996 and 1998 but charges were not framed.

Photograph: Shashank Parade / PTI Photo.

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