The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined urgent hearing to Patidar leader Hardik Patel’s plea against his conviction so that he can contest Lok Sabha polls.
Hardik Patel, who had recently joined the Congress, had filed a plea in the top court challenging the Gujarat High Court ‘sorder rejecting stay on his conviction in the 2015 Vispur rioting case. The matter was mentioned for urgent listing before a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra. The bench also comprising Justices M M Shantanagoudar and Navin Sinha told the counsel appearing for Patel that there was no urgency in hearing the matter as the high court order was passed in August last year.
“The order was passed in August 2018. What is the urgency now?” the bench said while refusing to accord urgent hearing on the petition, news agency PTI reported.
Hardik Patel moved the top court after his plea for stay was rejected by Gujarat High Court last week. The Patidar leader, who joined the Congress in March, was awarded a two-year prison sentence by a Visnagar court in July 2018 for leading a mob that ransacked local MLA Rishikesh Patel’s office in July 2015.
The Representation of the People Act bars anyone who has been sentenced to two or more years of imprisonment from contesting elections.
The 25-year-old, who is said to be keen on contesting from Gujarat’s Jamnagar, is running against time as April 4 is the last date for filing of nominations for the polls in Gujarat, to be held in the second phase of elections.
“My only crime is that I have raised voice against the BJP. I will campaign for the Congress and we will form the government,” Hardik wrote Twitter after the HC verdict.
Advocate Dharmesh Devani, who was representing the state government, said the high court accepted the fact that Patel had been a “lawbreaker” and so cannot contest an election.