‘Didn’t act for 5 years, can wait 7 days’: Hardik Patel gets relief from SC
The Supreme Court on Friday granted protection from arrest to Gujarat leader Hardik Patel till March 6 in connection with violence during Patidar Andolan (stir) in 2015 in the state. The bench of justices U U Lalit and Vineet Saran issued notice to the Gujarat government on the plea of Patel seeking quashing of a case against him
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who represented the government, told the court that charges against Patel are serious since his speeches led to widespread violence and destruction of property.
The bench then asked the government why nothing was done pursuant to the probe in the last five years. “The case was lodged in 2015 and the investigation is still pending in the matter. You can’t sit on the case for past five years,” the bench said.
It also asked Patel’s lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi whether the state had requisitioned his presence for probe to which Singhvi replied in the negative. Singhvi also told the court that the FIR against Patel was for making speeches against the Gujarat government.
“If you (the state) could not do anything for five years, there is no harm in waiting for seven days,” Justice Lalit told the Solicitor General. The bench allowed the state to file its response by Monday and posted the matter for Friday next week.
Patel, as the leader of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, had organised a mega rally in Ahmedabad as part of the quota stir demanding reservation for his Patidar community in government jobs and educational institutions. An FIR was lodged against him for “unlawful assembly” as the police claimed the event did not have requisite permissions.
The Gujarat high court had rejected his anticipatory bail plea earlier this month citing criminal antecedents of Patel.