The Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul on Thursday while refusing to interfere with the Gujarat High Court order dated October 26, directed veteran Congress leader Ahmed Patel to face the trial in relation to his Rajya Sabha election held in 2017. The bench said,
“Let the trial go on".
On 9 August 2017 Ahmed Patel got elected to Rajya Sabha defeating BJP's Balwant Singh Rajput, who later filed election Petition against him.
Earlier to this in October, the Gujarat High Court dismissed Patel’s application through which he questioned the maintainability of Petition filed by Rajput and ruled that Rajput's allegations required a trial.
The High Court’s decision came when Patel moved the Supreme Court against the April 20, 2018 order, on the ground that a decision of the Election Commission cannot be challenged by an election petition.
Nonethless, the Supreme Court reverted back the matter to the High Court to hear it afresh.
The court also maintained, "as contesting parties have appeared, no notice need be formally issued......In the meantime, the High Court shall proceed with the trial of the Election Petition".
While saying so, the Court has listed the matter for final disposal in the month of February, 2019.
The issue has its genesis in the victory of Congress leader who won the Rajya Sabha elections when the Election Commission(EC) declared the votes of rebel Congress MLAs Bholabhai Gohel and Raghavjee Patel invalid, which resulted in bringing down the number of winning votes for victory from 45 to 44.
In pursuant to this, Balwant Singh Rajput, challenged the poll panel’s decision of invalidating the votes of the two MLAs, who was assured that if the EC had counted those two votes as valid he would have defeated Patel.
He has also levelled allegations of bribery against Patel that he had taken Congress MLAs to a resort in Bengaluru before the election and his such act amounts to bribing the voters.