New Delhi, Jan 24 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ plea seeking review of its verdict holding that he will have to face trial for allegedly failing to disclose details of two criminal cases pending in his 2014 election affidavit.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said: “Application seeking oral hearing of review petitions in open court is/are allowed. List review petitions before the court.”
On October 1, 2019, in a major setback to Fadnavis, the Supreme Court set aside a Bombay High Court order that prevented the trial court from examining a poll-related complaint against him.
A bench headed by then Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices Gupta and Bose set aside the High Court’s clean chit, which held that he should not to be tried for the alleged offences under the Representation of Peoples Act.
“In the light of the view that we have taken and in view of the clear averment made in the complaint to the effect that the First Respondent (Fadnavis) had knowledge of the two cases against him which was not mentioned in the affidavit filed by him along with his nomination papers,” said the court in its judgement.
The apex court allowed the trial court to examine if he concealed criminal cases in his nomination papers.
A complaint was filed by Satish Ukey against Fadanvis in the magistrate’s court seeking his prosecution for not disclosing all the details of pending criminal cases. Ukey had alleged Fadnavis, in 2014 election affidavit, did not disclose pending two criminal cases against him.
The magistrate dismissed the complaint. In revision, the sessions judge, Nagpur remanded the matter to the trial court for consideration. Aggrieved, Fadnavis moved the High Court, which set aside the order of the sessions judge by its judgment May 3, 2018.
The apex court has set aside concurrent clean chit by the trial court and Bombay High Court to Fadnavis. “We unhesitatingly arrive at the conclusion that the order of the trial court upheld by the High Court by the judgment and order dated May 3, 2018 is legally not tenable and the same deserves to be set aside which we hereby do. The complaint of the appellant (Satish Ukey) will be considered afresh by the trial court from the stage where it was interdicted by the order dated May 30, 2016,” the court said.
Making observation on non-disclosure of information, the apex court said that such information should be furnished in Form 26, which includes information concerning cases in which a competent court has taken cognizance. According to the provisions, if a candidate fails to furnish or gives false or conceals information in his nomination paper, especially about pending criminal cases, then the person may face six months jail term or fine or both.