Hardik Patel’s plea for suspension of conviction: Hearing over in Gujarat High Court

Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court today completed the hearing on the plea of Congress leader and former convenor of Patidar Ananmat Aandolan Samiti (PAAS) Hardik Patel seeking suspension of the conviction by a local court in Mahesana district to enable him to contest the coming Lok Sabha poll.

The court of Justice A G Uraizi might pronounce verdict tomorrow or on Monday.

Advocate General Kamal Trivedi who appeared for the state in the court today opposed the plea saying that a law breaker should not be made a law maker.

He also argued that it was not necessary to be become and MP or MLA to do social service. He gave example of Mahatma Gandhi in this regard.

He said that there were several 17 FIRs against Hardik. He said we need people with impeccable credentials. Hstory will define that. Nothing irreversible will happen if Hardik doesn’t contest in LS election.

The prosecution also poked holes into the parallels drawn between this case and Navjot Siddhu and said there are differant variables. There have been times that a sitting MP is disqualified after a conviction. Hardik is only an aspirant. Why should he be given special treatment?

He also said that there was difference in the case of Punjab Minister and then MP Navjot Singh Sidhu who had got relief from Supreme court after getting disqualified as MP following conviction by the High Court. Notably the counsel of Hardik I H Syed and Rafik Lokhandwala have sought a treatment like that in Sidhu’s case from the court.

Trivedi will submit the gist of his argument before the court tomorrow after which it might pronounce its verdict or may do so on a later date.

Hardik’s counsels had during their argument also maintained that the conviction should be stayed as there was no proof of his presence on the spot during violence, the government counsel opposed his plea saying that there were many criminal antecedents of the former PAAS leader.

In the affidavit submitted by the government counsel it has been said that Hardik was not showing respect for law and was flouting the bail conditions in various cases.

Hardik had moved High Court on March 8 seeking stay on the verdict in a rioting case of July 2015 so that he was not disqualified from contesting the next Loksabha poll.

Notably, Hardik who had joined Congress in presence of party president Rahul Gandhi and other senior leaders on March 12 has expressed his willingness to contest LS polls from Jamnagar seat. The nominations have started today and would end on April 4.

The case was pertaining to the violence, arson and attack on the office of the then local BJP MLA Rushikesh Patel in Visnagar town of Mahesana district during a pro quota rally of PAAS on July 23, 2015.

A local court had on July 25 last year held Hardik Patel, SPG leader Lalji Patel and another Patidar leader A K Patel guilty in the case and sentenced 2 years of simple imprisonment and imposed Rs 50 thousand fine. The court had acquitted the other 14 accused. The trio was granted regular bail by the Gujarat high court in August last year.

Lokhandwala today said, ‘ We have made a prayer before the court to put a stay on the conviction and the sentence against Hardik so that he could contest the next LS poll without any fear of rejection of his nomination,’ he said.