In a major setback, Patidar leader Hardik Patel, who recently joined the Congress, won’t be able to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls as the Gujarat High Court refused to stay his conviction in the 2015 Mehsana riots case.
Patel had announced earlier that he wanted to contest polls. He filed a plea at the Gujarat high court to stay his conviction in the case. The Gujarat government has opposed Hardik’s plea.
According to a Supreme Court’s judgement, a convict can not contest an election unless the conviction is stayed.
Hardik’s lawyer IH Syed requested Justice A G Uraizee to pass order at the earliest so that his client may have time to approach the Supreme Court if the order went against him.
The last date of filing of nominations for Lok Sabha elections in Gujarat is 4 April.
The Visnagar court had sentenced Patel to two years in jail in the case in 2018.
The conviction was only based on the Supreme Court’s guidelines which hold leaders of organisations causing mob violence liable, though Hardik Patel was himself not present at the site of the incident, the lawyer said.
The state government opposed the plea, saying that Haridk Patel has criminal antecedents, with seventeen FIRs including two for sedition registered against him.
The high court, which in August suspended his sentence in the same case, did not stay the conviction, hence the new petition was not maintainable, the government said.
Advocate General Kamal Trivedi said a stay should be granted only in the “rarest or rare cases” and the present case did not fall in that category.
(with PTI inputs)