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Gujarat HC Declares BJP State Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama’s Election As Void

first_imgTop StoriesGujarat HC Declares BJP State Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama’s Election As Void Radhika Roy12 May 2020 2:04 AMShare This – xThe Gujarat High Court nullified the election of Bhupendrasinh Manubha Chudasama who had been elected to the Gujarat State Legislative Assembly in December 2017, on grounds of malpractice and manipulation. The BJP leader, who currently holds a position as the Minister of State for Revenue, Education, Higher and Technical Education and Law and Parliamentary Affairs, had been…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Gujarat High Court nullified the election of Bhupendrasinh Manubha Chudasama who had been elected to the Gujarat State Legislative Assembly in December 2017, on grounds of malpractice and manipulation.  The BJP leader, who currently holds a position as the Minister of State for Revenue, Education, Higher and Technical Education and Law and Parliamentary Affairs, had been declared a winner over Congress candidate Ashwinbhai Khamsubhai Rathod, by a margin of 327 votes. This was contested by Rathod before the Gujarat High Court wherein he alleged that Chudasama had 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 further contended that 429 postal ballot papers had been illegally excluded from consideration by the Returning Officer Dhaval Jani at the time of counting of votes in the election which materially affected the result, and this tampering of the election process rendered the election of Chudasama void under provisions of Representation of People Act, 1951. Additionally, on seeking for recounting of votes, the RO did not do that and was even reluctant to accept the application of the Rathod. Rathod also prayed that he be declared as the returned candidate in the said election, in place of Chudasama. FINAL ORDER Justice Paresh Upadhyay of Gujarat High Court heard the matter and held that the election of Chudasama was void as per provisions of the RPA. The Final Order declared is as follows: 1. It was held that the 429 postal ballot papers were illegally rejected/excluded from consideration by the RO at the time of counting of votes, as against the victory margin of 327 votes. This proved that the illegal rejection/exclusion of the ballot papers had materially affected the election results. As a consequence of the same, the election of Chudasama from Dholka Constituency for the Gujarat Assembly Elections is void under Section 100(1)(d)(iii) of the RPA, 1951. 2. It was further held that the procedure adopted for counting of votes in the election was against the orders of the Election Commission of India and was illegal. This illegal procedure had also materially affected the election results. As a consequence of the same, the election is void under Section 100(1)(d)(iv) of the RPA, 1951. 3. It was also held that “corrupt practice” as defined under Section 123(7) of the RPA, 1951 was committed during the election. Chudasama and his election agent had not only attempted, but were proved to have successfully obtained and procured assistance from the RO for the furtherance of Chudasama’s prospects. Therefore, the election is void under Section 100(1)(b) of the RPA, 1951. 4. The prayer of Rathod seeking to be declared as the duly election candidate from Dholka Constituency was rejected, and the petition was dismissed to this extent. 5. The Registry has been directed to communicate the order to the Election Commission of India and the Speaker of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly, as required under Section 103 of the RPA, 1951. On being requested by Chudasama to stay the Order for some time, the Learned Single Judge rejected the same and further noted that, even if the issue of “corrupt practice” was kept aside, on the basis of evidence of the RO and the documentary evidences placed on record by the concerned RO himself, it was proved that: “i. as against the victory margin of 327 votes, 429 postal ballot papers were illegally excluded from consideration by the Returning Officer, at the time of counting of votes, which has materially affected the result. ii. The exclusion of those 429 votes was behind everybody’s back, including the Observer nominated by the Election Commission of India. iii. To conceal this exclusion, election record is systematically manipulated by the Returning Officer. iv. To manipulate the election record and in turn to conceal the said manipulation, the relevant orders/instructions of the Election Commission of India, including mandatory instructions, regarding procedure of counting of votes, announcement of result and preparation of Final Result Sheet Form 20 were defied by the Returning Officer, on the day of counting of votes. Such an election should not be permitted to hold the field any further”.Click here to download judgment Read JudgmentNext Storylast_img read more

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