The Supreme Court on Thursday asked senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel to face trial in the Gujarat High Court in relation to his election to the Rajya Sabha in 2017. His election was challenged by his rival BJP candidate Balwantsinh Rajput.
The Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice SK Kaul said, “Let the trial go on.” This was after the top court refused to interfere in the order passed by the Gujarat High Court in favour of a trial to proceed in the matter.
Patel had moved the top court against the Gujarat High Court’s order dismissing his appeal petition. The Supreme Court will hear his appeal petition in February this year.
Patel, a top aide to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, had won the Rajya Sabha elections for the fifth term in a closely contested fight.
The Election Commission of India had told the Gujarat High Court in October 2017 that it stood by its decision to declare Ahmed Patel elected in the Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat.
BJP’s Balwantsinh Rajput, who had contested the poll after having switched his loyalty from the Congress to the saffron party, had approached the High Court demanding annulment of Ahmed Patel’s victory. However, the Election Commission told Justice Bela Trivedi of the Gujarat High Court that under The Representation of The People Act, it cannot be made a respondent to the petition filed by Rajput.
Union Minister Smriti Irani, BJP President Amit Shah and Ahmed Patel had won the closely contested election in August 2017. The EC had rejected the votes of rebel Congress MLAs Raghavjee Patel and Bholabhai Gohel for flouting rules thereby paving the way for Patel’s election. Rajput had made Shah and Irani the other respondents. Both of them filed their response in the High Court that they supported Rajput’s petition against Ahmed Patel’s election to the Rajya Sabha.