Karnataka High Court declares as null and void election of Prajwal Revanna from Hassan Lok Sabha constituency

Prajwal, grandson of JD (S) national president and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, is the only member of the party in Lok Sabha

September 01, 2023 04:16 pm | Updated September 02, 2023 04:28 am IST

H.D. Revanna, his wife and ZP member Bhavani Revanna, and Prajwal Revanna, JD(S) candidate for Hassan seat, at Mudalahippe in Holenarasipur taluk. File.

H.D. Revanna, his wife and ZP member Bhavani Revanna, and Prajwal Revanna, JD(S) candidate for Hassan seat, at Mudalahippe in Holenarasipur taluk. File. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Bengaluru 

The High Court of Karnataka on Friday declared as null and void the election of Prajwal Revanna of Janata Dal (Secular) from Hassan Lok Sabha constituency in the general elections held in April-May 2019 for indulging in a series of corrupt practices during the poll process.

Meanwhile, the court also rejected the plea of A. Manju, who had then unsuccessfully contested the elections from the Bhartiya Janata Party, to declare him as a returned candidate in place of Mr. Prajwal. 

The court said it could not declare Mr. Manju as the returned candidate as he too had indulged in corrupt practices, which were established from the materials provided by Mr. Prajawal in his recrimination petition.

Justice K. Natarajan delivered the verdict while partly allowing the petitions filed in 2019 by Mr. Manju and one G. Devarajegowda, a voter from the Hassan parliamentary constituency.

Mr. Prajwal, one of the grandsons of JD(S) national president and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and son of former Karnataka Minister H.D. Revanna, is the only MP from JD(S) in the Lok Sabha.

‘Corrupt practices’

The court found that Mr. Prajwal had indulged in at least a dozen types of different election corrupt practices as per the provisions of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951. 

Mr. Prajwal, the court said, had given false information and false market value of some of the properties declared in the list of his assets and had concealed the actual balance in his bank account by declaring only ₹5.78 lakh as balance as against the actual balance of ₹49.09 lakh as on the date of filling of his nomination. 

Also, Mr. Prajwal had suppressed ₹50 lakh loan, which was credited to his bank account, taken from Rajya Sabha member Kuppendra Reddy.

Mr. Prajwal had not furnished the entire details of his assets, liabilities, and investments including the bank balances and most of the information given by him was wrong information, the court held while also pointing out that he had failed to submit income-tax returns for all the relevant periods.

‘Misuse of position’ 

Mr. Revanna, father of Mr. Prajwal, had diverted the funds allocated to Cauvery Neeravari Nigama Limited by misusing his official position as district-in-charge Minister for other development works to ensure that electors voted for his son due to these development works, the court said.

The petitioners have also proved, the court said, Mr. Prajwal had also committed the corrupt practice through his father and family members, by ensuring the casting of votes by proxy voters in his favour by bringing non-voters to the polling station with the help of polling officials and by misuse of the position by his father.

The court also said as against the ₹70 lakh expenditure limit fixed by the ECI, Mr. Prajwal had spent more than ₹1 crore but had declared only ₹63 lakh as expenditure.

Meanwhile, from the documents, the court said that Mr. Manju had made false declarations about the value of his properties besides not disclosing the pendency of a petition in the court in which he had challenged a FIR registered against him. 

Earlier round 

Both the petitions against Mr. Prajwal’s elections were filed in 2019 and the court in January 2020, had dismissed them on technical grounds. However, on Manju’s appeal, the Supreme Court in December 2021 had asked the High Court to examine the issue afresh.

HC notice to Revanna and Suraj 

Pointing out that former Minister H.D. Revanna and his other son Suraj Revanna too have indulged in corrupt practices to help Mr. Prajwal win the Lok Sabha election, the High Court Karnataka on Friday asked them to show cause why they should not be declared as indulging in corrupt practices in the election process.

Mr. Revanna had misused his official position as the Hassan district in-charge Minister, the court said while pointing out that ₹1.2 lakh cash was seized from Dr. Suraj, who was travelling in a car, allotted to his father’s escort by the government. The court said that cash was obviously meant for distribution during elections while declining to accept Mr. Prajwal’s contention that the cash was given to his mother to bring cattle feed and groceries.

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