The Bombay High Court has refused to grant any interim relief to BJP's Ichalkaranji MLA Suresh Halvankar against Maharashtra Governor's order disqualifying him from holding his position following his conviction in a case of electricity theft.
Hearing Halvankar's plea yesterday, Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Girish Kulkarni refused to grant interim relief and asked him to submit his nomination form to the Returning Officer for the forthcoming Assembly elections.
The High Court left it to the discretion of Returning Officer whether to accept Halvankar's nomination form or reject it.
Halvankar has been accused of stealing electricity and causing losses to the State Electricity Board to the tune of Rs 21 lakh. He owns a powerloom factory in Ichalkaranji, the state's powerloom hub.
The MLA and his brother were charged under sections 135 and 138 of the Electricity Act, after a flying squad raid revealed that the meter of the factory was running 45 per cent slow, causing Rs 20,97,000 lakh loss to the Electricity Board.
In May, a local court convicted Halvankar and sentenced him to three years' rigorous imprisonment. The court had also imposed fine of Rs 10,000 on him.
Halvankar filed an appeal against his conviction in the High Court stating that he had given the factory to his brother for operating it and that he was not involved in its day-to-day functioning.
The HC had admitted his appeal and stayed his conviction in July.
However, before the HC stayed his conviction, the Governor had passed an order disqualifying him.
Halvankar moved another petition seeking that the Returning Officer be directed to accept his nomination form.
The judges admitted the petition but refused to grant any relief. The petition will come up for hearing in due course.
Halvankar's lawyer, Ganesh Sovani, however, said that they would approach the Supreme Court on Friday to get relief.