MUMBAI: In a reprieve for Shiv Sena's Dilip Lande, MLA from suburban Chandiwali constituency, the Bombay High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition filed by Khan Mohammed Arif Lallan, a candidate from the Congress party, challenging Lande's election to the assembly in the polls held in October 2019. The HC dismissed the petition for want of "material facts."
A bench of Justice Sandeep Shinde was hearing an election petition filed by Khan accusing Lande of resorting to corrupt practices in the polls.
As per Khan, the Sena candidate had circulated a fake video of his speech, which he gave in 2016. This video was deliberately and maliciously edited to portray him as an anti-national person as shown, giving slogans ‘Pakistan Zindabad’. This fake video, Khan claimed affected the polls as majority of the voters had seen the same.
Further, Khan claimed that a promotion rally was held in the constituency wherein top leaders of the Shiv Sena including its president Uddhav Thackeray, gave some speeches. This, he alleged was done in breach of the model code of conduct imposed by the state election commission.
Having perused Khan's petition, Justice Shinde noted that he failed to place on record as to how Lande got the alleged fake video.
"Indisputably, the petition neither reveals as to how and from whom, the returned candidate (Lande) procured the fake video nor the pleadings reveal, connection or link between the person, who uploaded it on social media and the returned candidate," the judge said, adding, "Therefore, in absence of these fundamental pleadings, this Court is unable to form ‘opinion’ as to complicity of the returned candidate in committing the corrupt practices."
The judge further noted that Khan had contended that because of the "illegal campaign" by Uddhav Thackeray, Lande won with a margin of 409 votes.
"The law requires pleadings as to how alleged illegal campaign caused voters to vote in favour of the returned candidate. Thus, pleading of this material fact of link between illegal election campaigning and victory of returned candidate by margin of 409 votes was essential ‘fact’," the judge noted.
"Factually speaking, the contentions in the petition, are simply a “possible view of Khan; without pleading link. A mere ‘chance’ or ‘likelihood’ of voters being influenced by illegal campaigning would not constitute essential fact, to contend that illegal campaigning materially affected the election result of the returned candidate," the judge observed while dismissing the plea.
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