Nitin Gadkari gets Bombay HC’s ‘partial relief’ with a bit of ‘incoming’ trouble

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday while granting ‘partial' relief to Union Home Minister Nitin Gadkari, refused to strike down two specific challenges to the senior BJP leader's election. A bench of Justice Atul Chandurkar struck off accusations of corruption and false claims in the election nomination forms filed by Gadkari in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. However, the judge has refused to strike off the challenge wherein Gadkari has shown his 'source of income' as agriculture and ownership of a parcel of land in his name.

The bench was seized with a plea filed by one Mohammed Nafis, a resident of Nagpur, from where Gadkari got elected to the Parliament.

In his election petition, Nafis had put up a series of contentions challenging Gadkari's election on the ground that the ace politician committed fraud by misrepresenting certain facts about his income, property etc. He claimed that Gadkari's affidavit annexed to his nomination form is in breach of the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and thus his election must be set aside.

Per contra, Gadkari through senior counsel Sunil Manohar argued that Nafis's contentions are "unnecessary, vexatious, scandalous, frivolous and are intended to prejudice as well as delay the trial of the election petition.

One of the contentions raised by Nafis is that in his nomination affidavit Gadkari has shown his source of income as agriculture, however, nowhere has he mentioned that he individually owns any land parcel used for farming. "Taking the aforesaid statements at their face value, it is found that there are averments indicating that the disclosure made in the affidavit filed along with the nomination form with regard to the source of income to be agriculture is false. These averments disclose the existence of material facts and hence they cannot be struck off as being unnecessary or vexatious," Justice Chandurkar held.

The other ground that Nafis has raised is that the 7/12 extract shows that Gadkari individually owns a land parcel at Mouza-Dhapewada (Khurd), Nagpur, however, in the affidavit the politician has claimed that the same land is owned jointly by his family. "It is averred by Nafis that the said land cannot be owned by the Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) and hence such information as given by Gadkari in his affidavit is false," the judge held further.

The judge, however, struck off certain grounds wherein Nafis had alleged that Gadkari did not mention the entire expenditure he made on promotions and rallies for the polls. He had also accused that Gadkari's wife owns a turmeric boiler and the same has been suppressed by the politician. The court noted that Nafis did not place any material on record to substantiate his claims.

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