Hardik Patel moves SC seeking suspension of his conviction in 2015 riots case; SC refuses urgent hearing

Supreme Court: The Court has refused to accord urgent hearing to Congress leader Hardik Patel’s plea challenging the Gujarat High Court order rejecting stay on his conviction in the 2015 Vispur rioting case. The matter was mentioned for urgent listing before a bench of Arun Mishra, MM Shantanagoudar and Navin Sinha, JJ. The bench said:

“The order was passed in August 2018. What is the urgency now?”

Hardik Patel has moved the Supreme Court seeking suspension of his conviction in the case in which he was found guilty of rioting and arson during the Patidar quota stir  in 2015. Patel had moved the court challenging the order of the Gujarat High Court which had in August 2018 suspended his jail sentence but not the conviction. On Friday, the High Court had declined to cancel his conviction.

As per rules and the Representation of the People (RP) Act, a political candidate, who was convicted and facing a prison term of two years or more cannot contest the elections, unless the same is stayed by a court.

The 26-year-old, in his petition, claimed that he is a leader of the Patidar Andolan and started his agitation in 2015, and due to this, the ruling party of the state of Gujarat registered an FIR against him. His petition states:

“This registration of FIR and the action of the state government were mala fide and were with a view to suppress the voice of the masses,”

He further stated in his petition that in the present case, it was argued at length before the Gujarat High Court that there is no legal evidence against for conviction and the same is based on hearsay evidence. He says that the Court should urgently hear his petition because the last date and filing of the nomination papers for Lok Sabha elections 2019, is April 04. Patel, 25, had started preparations to contest from Jamnagar on a Congress ticket after joining the party on March 12.

A lower Court at Mehsana in Gujarat had sentenced the Patidar leader to two years’ imprisonment in 2018 July, for his involvement in rioting and arson in 2015, when during the Patidar quota protests.

(Source: PTI and ANI)

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