Rajya Sabha poll case: Congress leader Ahmed Patel gives list of 43 witnesses to Gujarat HC

Patel's lawyer P S Champaneri submitted the list, which includes the names of over half-a-dozen MLAs, in the court of Justice Bela Trivedi of the Gujarat High Court.

Published: 23rd January 2019 08:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd January 2019 08:18 AM   |  A+A-

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel (File | PTI)

By PTI

AHMEDABAD: Congress leader Ahmed Patel's counsel Tuesday submitted a list of 43 people to be examined as a witness in a petition challenging his election to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat in 2017.

Patel's lawyer P S Champaneri submitted the list, which includes the names of over half-a-dozen MLAs, in the court of Justice Bela Trivedi of the Gujarat High Court.

The list also included the then Congress MLAs, who had voted for BJP candidate Balvantsinh Rajput in the Rajya Sabha election, as well as the then chief electoral officer, officials of the Election Commission of India, and counting agents.

The high court Tuesday also directed petitioner Rajput to submit a list of material in support of his allegations that Patel's election to the Rajya Sabha was invalid.

Rajput, who has challenged Patel's election to the Rajya Sabha from the state in 2017, had last week submitted a list of 43 witnesses to be examined by the court in support of his claim.

The Gujarat HC had framed six issues, including whether Patel or his election agent committed an act of "bribery" and "undue influence" and thereby indulged in "corrupt practices" as alleged by Rajput, making the election "liable to be declared as void".

Some of the other issues are whether two "invalid votes" cast by Congress MLAs Shailesh Parmar and Miteshbhai Garasia, and "improper refusal or rejection" of votes cast by rebel Congress MLAs Bholabhai Gohil and Raghvjibhai Patel materially affected the outcome of the election.

The issue also concerns the Election Commission of India (ECI) order, on the validity of certain votes cast during the election, as to whether it was "being violative of the principles of natural justice, without any authority of law".

The issues have been framed under various sections of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

Patel had earlier moved the Supreme Court challenging a high court order dismissing his plea questioning the maintainability of Rajput's election petition.

Patel had contended that the poll panel's decision could not be challenged by an election petition.

The apex court had on September 26 asked the Gujarat HC to decide afresh Patel's plea challenging maintainability of the petition filed by Rajput, which then dismissed Patel's plea in October.

Rajput had filed the petition in the high court after Patel was declared the winner by the Election Commission in the election to the Upper House of the Parliament held in 2017.

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