The Bombay High Court today dismissed election petitions challenging the election of four Congress MPs from Mumbai, including Priya Dutt and Milind Deora.
Justice S C Dharmadhikari also imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 each on Shamsher Singh and three other petitioners for
frivolous litigation. The cost will be paid to the respondent MPs: Priya Dutt, Eknath Gaikwad, Gurudas Kamat and Milind Deora.
The petitioners, all voters from Mumbai, had claimed that the Congress manifesto for last Lok Sabha election sought to
appease the Muslims by various promises.
This amounted to violation of section 123 (3) of Representation of People Act which prohibits seeking votes in
the name of caste or religion, they argued.
Among other things, the manifesto promised that 'Equal Opportunities Commission' shall be set up at the national
level which would benefit minorities.
Advocate Ashutosh Kumbhkoni, representing the MPs, had argued that manifesto did not "seek votes".
Secondly, he contended, as per the Supreme Court, seeking votes in the name of religion means urging the voters to vote or not to vote for a candidate, on the ground that he/she belongs to a particular religion.
In the present case none of the four elected MPs was a Muslim and votes were not sought with reference to their
religion, was Kumbhkoni's contention.