Devendra Fadnavis to face trial in False Election Affidavit Case: SC’s Big Blow

Maha CM will have to face trial for allegedly suppressing pendency of two criminal cases in his 2014 poll affidavit

devendra fadnavis

In a major setback for Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, twenty days before the state goes to the polls, the Supreme Court in a landmark judgment on Tuesday October 1, paved the way for his prosecution.  His crime? Filing a false election affidavit in year 2014.

The bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose observed that prima facie under Section 125 of the Representation of Peoples Act, a case was made against Fadnavis and set aside the clean chit given to him by the Bombay High Court.

Lawyer Satish Ukey had petitioned for action against Devendra Fadnavis under the said Act, but his applications had been rejected by the lower court as well as the Bombay HC. The two cases of alleged cheating and forgery were filed against Fadnavis in 1996 and 1998 but charges were not framed.

On July 23, the top court had reserved its verdict had said that the alleged ‘omission’ by Fadnavis of not disclosing information may be decided in the trial. It was concerned with a limited issue – whether prima facie Section 125 A of the RP Act was attracted or not.

The provision deals with the penalty for ‘filing false affidavit’ and says that the concealment or failure to furnish proper information in nomination papers by any candidate could attract six months jail term or fine or both.

Fadnavis, who is the current Chief Minister of Maharashtra had contested the elections from Constituency-52, South-West, Nagpur, and the State of Maharashtra. He submitted his nomination paper along with the requisite documents and affidavit in prescribed form, Form No. 26 as prescribed under Rule 4A of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961.

It was Ukey’s case that the non-disclosure of the two pending criminal cases, were in violation of Section 125A of the Act of 1951 and constituted an offence envisaged by this provision of law. He had said that it was the candidate’s mandatory legal obligation to disclose the details of all the cases.
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi who was appearing for the CM had said that Bombay HC had rightly rejected the plea.

The apex court had said that “the long and short of the matter is that you had to disclose the pending cases where charges have been framed. You did it. But you missed out in giving details of two cases (where court has taken cognizance).”

However, there seems to be no immediate problem for Fadnavis, as the top court’s verdict only revives the complaint against him which will be decided as per procedure. The verdict may not come up before the Assembly polls scheduled to be held on October 21.



Related Articles