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Sunday, Dec 08, 2019

Nagpur court tells Fadnavis to appear before it on January 4

cities Updated: Dec 05, 2019 00:15 IST
Pradip Kumar Maitra
Pradip Kumar Maitra
Hindustantimes
         

 The local Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) court on Wednesday directed former Maharashtra chief minister (CM) Devendra Fadnavis’s lawyer Uday Dable to tell him to appear before court in the next hearing, after the ex-CM expressed inability to appear on Wednesday citing “unavoidable circumstances.”

Judge SD Mehta of JMF court has fixed the next hearing on January 4 and directed Fadnavis to remain present in the court during the hearing, which has been re-registered following a Supreme Court directive on October 1 this year. The Supreme Court on October 1 ordered a fresh trial on a plea filed by Nagpur-based lawyer Satish Ukey.

In his petition, Ukey alleged that Fadnavis had failed to disclose two pending criminal cases against him in the affidavit filed during the 2014 Assembly polls as BJP candidate from Nagpur South West constituency. Ukey had claimed that for such a deliberate suppression, Fadnavis had committed an offence under sections 181 and 182 of the Indian Penal Code and also under sections 199 and 200 of the IPC.

Earlier, this case was dismissed by a local court and subsequently, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court (HC) had upheld the lower court’s order, dismissing Ukey’s plea. A Supreme Court bench of the then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and justice Deepak Gupta and justice Aniruddha Bose had ordered the trial court to continue with the case against Fadnavis under Section125-A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and hence the Nagpur lower court served the summons against him.  Referring to letters issued by the Election Commission (EC) to chief electoral officers of all states and UTs, CJI Gogoi, who authored the 28-page judgment on behalf of the bench, said, “A reading of the said letters would go to show that a contesting candidate is mandated to furnish information concerning cases in which a competent court has taken cognisance along with the cases in which charges have been framed.”

The counsel of the ex-CM had argued that Fadnavis had disclosed all cases pending against him and inadvertently left out two cases, in which only cognisance had been taken, but charges had not been framed. He said this could not be a ground to prosecute him under Section 125A, which entails a maximum punishment of six-month imprisonment. “In every state, the CM and legislators face hundreds of cases. Missing out two cannot be an offence so as to prosecute an elected candidate,” Fadnavis’s lawyer further argued.

The bench, however, had replied, “We will not comment on that. If you missed out mentioning the two cases pending against you inadvertently, you will be acquitted. It is a matter of trial to determine whether or not the omission was inadvertent or not.”

Later, the top court of the country referred it to a lower court of Nagpur for a trial. On the day of the formation of the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government, the local Sadar police station delivered the summons last week for appearing in court on December 4 in this regard.