Other States

Trial will decide if RP Act applies to Maharashtra CM’s omission of case: SC

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis with State unit BJP president Chandrakant Patil (centre) and Mumbai president Mangal Prabhat Lodha at the party head quarter in Mumbai. | File

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis with State unit BJP president Chandrakant Patil (centre) and Mumbai president Mangal Prabhat Lodha at the party head quarter in Mumbai. | File   | Photo Credit: vivek Bendre

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said the alleged omission by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis of information about two criminal cases against him in his election affidavit for the 2014 Assembly polls may be decided in trial.

A Bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, reserved verdict on an appeal filed by one Satish Ukey seeking prosecution of Mr. Fadnavis under the provisions of the Representation of the People (RP) Act for failing to furnish details of two pending criminal cases, in which the trial court had taken cognisance.

The Bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, said, “We are concerned with a limited issue whether prima facie Section 125A of the RP Act is attracted or not.”

The provision deals with the penalty for filing a false affidavit and says 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, the person may be awarded six months’ jail term or fine or both.

“You had the window, you could have disclosed the cases where the court has taken cognisance (of the offence). Whether the omission is liable under Section 125A of the RP Act may be decided in trial,” the Bench said.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Chief Minister, said the stage of cancellation of nomination papers for alleged concealment of information was over and the question was only if the lawmaker can be prosecuted. He said the Bombay High Court had rightly rejected the plea.

‘Missed details’

The Bench said that the “long and short of the matter is that you had to disclose the pending cases where charges have been framed. You did it. But you missed out in giving details of two cases (where court has taken cognisance).

Senior advocate Vivek Tankha, appearing for Mr. Ukey, said the Chief Minister filed a false affidavit by not disclosing the two criminal matters and yet the trial court and the HC held that there was no prima facie made out for the prosecution of the Chief Minister.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 4:30:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/trial-will-decide-if-rp-act-applies-to-cms-omission-of-case-sc/article28695577.ece

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