Big relief to disqualified Congress MLA Barad, Gujarat High Court stays conviction order of lower court

Ahmedabad: In a big relief to disqualified Congress MLA of Talala assembly segment, Bhagawan Barad, the Gujarat High Court stayed his conviction in an alleged mineral theft case by a lower court of Sutrapada in Gir Somnath district till his appeal was pending before it.

Barad was disqualified by assembly speaker on March 5 this year after March 1 conviction of 2 years nine months by the lower court in an over decade old lime-stone theft case.

Barad’s counsel Hriday Buch said that with this the disqualification of his client would also automatically end. He said that as per the settled law, once the conviction is stayed, the consequences of disqualification does not operate.

Yesterday Barad had moved the Gujarat High Court for the second time in a fortnight challenging Veraval sessions court’s repeated refusal to stay his conviction.

The court of Justice S H Vora today stayed the conviction till the appeal was pending.

He had appealed before the sessions court in Veraval thrice against the verdict of the magistrate court. The court had for the first time stayed it but as it did not mention any reason for its order the court of High Court judge Justice Sonia Gokani had on April 24 revoked the stay and advised Barad to go back to the court. Since then it was rejected twice with the latest being on July 3 .

The Veraval court initially stayed the conviction on the first occasion on March 7, the order was set aside by the high court for not being a reasoned one, with a direction to hear the case afresh, after the state government appealed against the same. During the second time, the Veraval court rejected Barad’s plea on April 24, against which he moved the High Court.

Earlier the Supreme Court had on April 1 stayed the by-election announced by the Election Commission (EC) for his Talala constituency on April 23 along with voting for all the 26 Lok Sabha elections in Gujarat. The disqualified MLA had challenged the hasty declaration of bypoll for his constituency by the EC before the Gujarat High Court. However, a division bench of the high court had rejected his plea, against which he had to approach the apex court.

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