In a setback to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the Supreme Court Tuesday set aside the clean chit awarded to him by the Bombay High Court, which had upheld a trial court order, in a case registered against him for failing to disclose two pending criminal cases in his election affidavit.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, and comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, held that a case has been made for the prosecution of Fadnavis.
The apex court directed the trial court to hear the case afresh, filed by an advocate, Satish Uke. The petitioner had challenged the election of Fadnavis on the ground that he had not disclosed details of two criminal cases against him while filing his nomination in 2014. The two cases of alleged cheating and forgery were filed against Fadnavis in 1996 and 1998 but charges were not framed.
The petitioner had said the non-disclosure was in violation of Section 125A of the Representation of the People Act. Under this section, if a candidate or his proposer fails to furnish or gives false information or conceals it on issues like pending criminal cases, in the nomination paper, then the person may be awarded six months jail term or fine or both.
The trial court had said in its order that it would not entertain the petition. The Bombay HC, in an order passed on May 3, 2018, upheld the trial court’s order.
Earlier, the Bombay High Court had dismissed the plea of Satish Ukey seeking annulment of Fadanavis’s election to the Maharashtra Assembly.
The setback comes as Devendra Fadnavis is going to file his nomination for the 2019 Maharashtra assembly elections from Nagpur South today.