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Petition against PM Modi’s election from Varanasi dismissed by Allahabad HC

Apoorva Mandhani
8 Dec 2016 6:51 AM GMT
Petition against PM Modi’s election from Varanasi dismissed by Allahabad HC
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Allahabad High Court on Wednesday reportedly dismissed a petition challenging Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election from the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat in 2014.

Justice Vikram Nath dismissed the petition, calling it “half-hearted, vague and bald statements, based on media reports.” He was of the opinion that “no material has been placed on record to make the petition triable.”

The Petition, filed by Congress MLA Ajay Rai, had claimed that there were discrepancies in the PM’s nomination papers, that the expenses on campaign had exceeded permissible limits, and that religious sentiments were exploited through slogans like “Har Har Modi”.

It had also claimed that a number of posh hotels in the ancient temple town had been booked for the purpose “for the period between 24 April, 2014 and 12 May, 2014 (the date of voting in Varanasi)”.

However, according to Satyapal Jain, Additional Solicitor-General of India and the leading counsel appearing on behalf of Mr. Modi, the Court was in agreement with the contention that writing ‘not known’ against any column did not amount to concealment of facts.

“A candidate could be held guilty of concealing facts on this count only if he or she is well aware of the assets and liabilities of the spouse and still declines to divulge the details. The petitioner had failed to establish the same and the court appeared to be in agreement with our contention,” Mr. Jain was quoted as saying.

“Moreover, the court also took note of the fact that following our strong rebuttals, the petitioner had agreed not press a number of other allegations made in the original petition, which include bribing of voters through distribution of freebies, appealing to religious sentiments and creating animosity between members of different communities,” he added.

Concurring with these submissions, the Court reportedly remarked, “While making an allegation that more than Rs 50 crore were spent, the petitioner has failed to specify who made these payments and to whom and what was the mode of payment. There is a lack of specific pleadings and the allegations are merely vague and bald statements based on media reports.”

This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.

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