No Relief for Disqualified Congress MLA, Gujarat HC Refuses to Stay Talala Bypoll
A division bench of Justices SR Brahmbhatt and VB Mayani passed the order on Barad’s petition challenging his disqualification by Assembly speaker Rajendra Trivedi following his conviction early this month.
Voters stand in a long queue to cast their votes at a polling station in Bodhgaya (PTI)
Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday refused to stay the bypoll in Talala assembly constituency in the Gir-Somnath district and upheld the disqualification of Congress MLA Bhagvan Barad in an illegal mining theft case.
Barad is likely to move the Supreme Court on Thursday seeking dismissal of his suspension and a stay on the bypoll, which will be held on April 23 alongside the Lok Sabha elections in the state.
A division bench of Justices SR Brahmbhatt and VB Mayani passed the order on Barad’s petition challenging his disqualification by Assembly Speaker Rajendra Trivedi following his conviction early this month. Barad stood automatically disqualified as per the provisions of the Representation of the People Act after being sentenced to
over two years in jail.
In his plea, the Congress leader has said that the EC’s decision on holding the bypoll was “taken in haste”. Barad had won the seat in the 2017 polls.
Barad was disqualified from the state assembly on March 1 after a magistrate court sentenced him to two years and nine months in jail. The court had held him guilty of theft for excavating limestone worth Rs 2.83 crore through illegal mining on government land in 1995.
After Barad filed an appeal, a sessions court in Veraval on March 7 stayed his conviction. A week later, the high court set aside the lower court’s order.
The Gujarat High Court on Monday questioned the Election Commission over its decision to declare bypoll despite knowing about Barad’s conviction. The court had directed the poll panel to submit its response on Tuesday. In its oral submission, the Election Commission said the bypoll date was announced taking into consideration a previous order of Barad’s conviction.
The high court said it will not interfere with the notification issued by the Election Commission declaring the bypoll on account of the fact that Barad’s disqualification and vacancy on the seat continue.
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