Gujarat’s former chief minister and Prime Minister Narendra Modi committed an offence by leaving blank the marital status column of his affidavit for the 2012 State Assembly elections, a local court in Ahmedabad ruled on Monday. However, it held that an FIR could not be filed against him on grounds of delay

The court of additional chief judicial magistrate MM Sheikh passed the order in response to an application by Aam Aadmi Party leader Nishant Verma, which sought the court’s directions to the police to register an FIR against Mr. Modi for “concealing” the name of his wife Jashodaben in his 2012 affidavit.

The court dismissed the application under section 203 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which allows the magistrate to dismiss a complaint when no sufficient grounds for proceedings are found.

“An offence is made out [against Mr. Modi] under section 123 (A) (3) of the The Representation of People Act for leaving the column blank... [However] the complaint has been made after one year and four months. Therefore, cognisance of the offence cannot be taken under section 468 CrPC,” the order states.

Section 468 of CrPC stipulates a period of “limitation” within which a complaint is to be filed. The limitation period applies to only non-serious cases where the imprisonment term does not exceed three years. Clause (2) (b) of the section bars courts from taking cognisance of the offence it is punishable with imprisonment for a term not exceeding a yea

On the other hand, while section 125 (A) (3) of the RP Act pertains to penalty for concealing information in the election affidavit, it provides for imprisonment, which may extend to six months.

Mr. Verma’s lawyer K.R. Koshti said he would be challenging the order by way of a revision petition.

Earlier, Mr. Verma tried to file an FIR against Mr. Modi and returning officer P.K. Jadeja for filing a “false” affidavit for the Maninanagar assembly seat in 2012. However, when the police did not take any action, he moved the court.

Mr. Modi declared Ms. Jashodaben as his spouse for the first time in his election affidavit for the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, creating a controversy.

“It is when he declared her name in 2014 that we knew about his marital status and sought to file a complaint. In 2012 we did not know it,” Mr. Verma told The Hindu.

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