The Supreme Court Monday said it will hear on September 23 the plea of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel seeking stay on further proceedings in the Gujarat High Court on his 2017 election to the Rajya Sabha that has been challenged by rival BJP candidate Balwantsinh Rajput.
A Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer agreed to hear the plea after senior advocate Abhishekh Manu Singhvi, appearing for Ahmed Patel, submitted that the matter is scheduled for hearing in the high court on September 27.
Abhishekh Manu Singhvi, along with senior advocate Dev Dutt Kamath, said there was a need for hearing the matter in the apex court before the high court goes in for further proceedings in which the arguments are at final stage.
Ahmed Patel has challenged in the apex court the maintainability of the election petition in the high court, the advocates said.
Till the apex court decided the maintainability of the election petition, there was a need for stay of proceedings in the high court, they said.
Ahmed Patel has challenged the order of the Gujarat High Court's by which it had dismissed his plea questioning the maintainability of Rajput's election petition.
Earlier, the apex court had declined to interfere with the October 26, 2018 order of the high court which had said that Rajput's allegations required a trial.
Ahmed Patel has filed three appeals against the orders of the high court which were tagged together by the apex court on July 22.
The apex court had also clarified earlier that the ongoing trial would continue and the parties can go ahead with recording evidence.
The apex court on January 3 had asked Ahmed Patel to face trial on Rajput's election petition challenging the Election Commission's decision to invalidate the votes of the two rebel MLAs.
Had these votes been counted, he would have defeated Ahmed Patel, the BJP leader had contended.
Ahmed Patel was declared the winner after the Election Commission invalidated the votes of rebel Congress MLAs Bholabhai Gohel and Raghavjee Patel, bringing down the number of votes needed for victory to 44 from 45.
In the election petition before the high court, Rajput also alleged that Ahmed Patel had taken Congress MLAs to a resort in Bengaluru before the election which amounted to "bribing the voters".
In October 2018, the high court for the second time declined to give relief to Ahmed Patel. Earlier, April 20, it had rejected Ahmed Patel's plea.
Ahmed Patel had first moved the Supreme Court against the April 20, 2018 order, contending that the decision of the poll panel cannot be challenged by an election petition.
The apex court on September 26 last year had asked the Gujarat High Court to decide afresh a plea of Ahmed Patel challenging the maintainability of a petition filed by Rajput. In October it dismissed Ahmed Patel's plea.
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