In a setback to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the Supreme Court on Tuesday held that the incumbent CM must face trial for suppressing crucial facts, related to two pending criminal cases, in his election affidavit for the 2014 Assembly elections.
In its judgment setting aside the high court’s decision to dismiss the case, a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said Fadnavis had clear knowledge of the two cases against him but chose not to disclose the same in the election affidavit.
The SC was dealing with the limited fact on whether Fadnavis had violated Section 125 (A) of The Representation of the People (RP) Act of 1951 by not mentioning in his affidavit details of cases that the lower court had taken cognizance of.
The said sections say that if a candidate either fails to furnish or gives false or conceals information in his nomination paper on issues like pending criminal cases, they may be awarded six months jail term or fine, or both. Holding the CM guilty of violating Section 125 (A), the apex court directed the trial court to relook complaint made against the leader.
The complaint against Fadnavis was made by an advocate of the Bombay High Court, who had initially approached the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Nagpur to initiate proceedings against the CM under section 125 (A) of the RP Act.
Though the court dismissed the plea, the session judge sent the matter back to the magistrate and asked him to re-evaluate the matter. The petitioner had then approached the high court, which had also dismissed the advocate’s plea.
In a statement, the Maharashtra CM’s Office said “the complainant went to the SC and the SC has remanded back the case to trial court for fresh consideration.”
“Hence, it will again be heard in the trial court to ascertain weather a case for prosecution is made out or not. Hence, it is totally wrong and contemptuous to say that Supreme Court has allowed prosecution.”