New Delhi, July 9: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Gujarat High Court not to proceed with the case filed by BJP leader Balwantsinh Rajput challenging senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel’s election to the Rajya Sabha. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud sought Rajput’s response on Patel’s plea seeking direction to the high court to not proceed with the plea challenging his election, asked the Gujarat high court to frame the issues to be decided by it on Rajput’s petition and posted the matter before it for hearing in August.
Rajput, a Congress MLA, had defected from the party to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) just ahead of the August 8, 2017 Rajya Sabha election for three seats in the state. Fielded as a BJP nominee for one of the seats, he lost the election to Patel after the Election Commission passed an order invalidating the votes of then Congress MLAs Raghavjee Patel and Bholabhai Gohel over flouting of poll norms as the two had gone against the party’s decision, and voted for Rajput instead. The decision paved the way for Patel’s victory.
After the elections, Rajput filed the petition in August 2017 questioning the Commission’s order that came following objections raised by the Congress. He had also accused Patel of indulging in corrupt practices by taking 44 Congress MLAs to a resort in Bengaluru and keeping them in captivity and spending lavishly on them. The Gujarat High Court had rejected Patel’s plea against admission of Rajput’s petition challenging the Election Commission’s decision that resulted in his victory, and he subsequently approached the Supreme Court. (IANS)