The Supreme Court on Friday stayed a Gujarat high court order cancelling state education and law minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama's 2017 election victory on grounds of malpractice and vote manipulation.
The HC had cancelled Chudasama’s election in an order passed on a petition filed by Congress candidate Ashwin Rathod, challenging the BJP leader’s victory from Dholka constituency by a margin of 327 votes in the 2017 Gujarat Assembly polls.
Justice Paresh Upadhyay had upheld the arguments tendered by the Congress candidate that 429 postal ballot votes were cancelled illegally.
In his election petition, Rathod alleged that Chudasama indulged in “corrupt practice and breach of many of the mandatory instructions of the Election Commission, at various stages of the election process, more particularly at the time of counting of votes”.
Rathod had submitted in the petition that Chudasama was declared winner in the polls by the Returning Officer (RO) and Deputy Collector of Dholka Dhaval Jani, who had manipulated the process of counting of ballot papers, so he should be declared winner. Jani had not followed the process of counting and cancelled 429 postal ballot votes.
During the hearing, the court had found glaring breaches of election rules by Jani who was seen talking over the phone inside the counting centre. The court had observed this while seeing video footage and cross examination of Jani.