The Bombay High Court on Tuesday issued notice to former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis in a plea challenging his election from Nagpur (South West) constituency.
The writ petition was filed by Advocate Satish Uke alleging that Fadnavis "indulged in corrupt practices, thereby vitiating the election, as a result of which declaration in favour of the sole respondent as returned candidate deserved to be set aside."
Justice Manish Pitale of the Nagpur bench issued notice to Fadnavis returnable on February 14 and allowed the petitioner to amend the petition as he wishes to delete the names of 22 respondents and change details about Fadnavis as he was still Acting CM when the petition was filed.
Uke had also filed an 'urgent complaint' through email before electoral authorities and also sought registration of FIR against the Retuning Officer u/Section 129 of Representation of Peoples Act 1951 and Sections 166, 167, 217, 218, 219 ,417, 467, 468,471, 120-B,34 of IPC. Also, under Section 13 (1) (d) (i) of Preventions of Corruptions Act against Devendra Fadnavis and his representative Sandip Joshi u/Section 417, 467, 468,471,120-B, (171-F R/w 511), 34 of IPC.
Uke had previously challenged Fadnavis's election in the 2014 assembly election. He first filed a criminal application before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM) in Nagpur which was rejected. Then, he filed a criminal revision application before the Sessions Court in 2016, which was allowed.
Devendra Fadnavis then challenged the sessions court order before the Bombay High Court, which quashed the sessions court's order and upheld the ACJM's order dismissing the application. Consequently, Uke filed an appeal before the Apex Court. Supreme Court in October set aside HC's order giving Fadnavis a clean chit.
Thereafter, in November, SD Mehta, JMFC, Nagpur passed the order on Monday issuing process against Fadnavis for offence under Section 125A of People's Representation Act after the Supreme Court set aside the Bombay High Court's clean chit to Fadnavis and asked the Magistrate Court to go ahead with Uke's complaint.
According to Uke, Fadnavis has submitted his nomination papers along with his affidavit Form-26 dated October 4, 2019 for contesting the Legislative Assembly Election, 2019 from the 52, Nagpur South-West Constituency. Petitioner alleged that the Returning Officer improperly accepted affidavit filed by Fadnavis which according to him is false and contains many omissions.
Uke contended that Fadnavis filed his nomination at around 12 pm but it was not published by the Returning Officer until around 6:30 pm he was allegedly correcting discrepancies in the affidavit. On October 5 Uke filed an Objection demanding rejection of nomination form of Devendra Fadnavis by hand to all the election authorities including Returning Officer.
The Returning officer on the same day adjourned the hearing by keeping all the papers in sealed envelope with signature of all the candidates and representative of Devendra Fadnavis. Uke has alleged that anything can happen with the papers in the sealed envelope which are crucial to the case hence should be protected.