Hardik Patel can’t contest if the Supreme Court does not put his conviction on hold by April 4.
Under the Representation of the People Act, a convict facing a jail term of two years or more cannot contest unless the conviction is stayed.
Patidar leader Hardik Patel has been refused an urgent hearing in the Supreme Court on his request to hold his conviction so he can contest this month’s polls. “What’s the urgency now,” the top court asked, pointing out that the conviction dated to 2015.
Hardik Patel can’t contest if the Supreme Court does not put his conviction on hold by April 4, which is the last date for the filing of nominations if he wants to contest in Gujarat, which votes on April 23.
Hardik Patel turned 25 this year, which means he qualifies as a candidate for the Lok Sabha polls.
The new Congress recruit had moved the top court after the Gujarat High Court refused to stay his conviction. Last year, Hardik Patel was sentenced to two years in jail by a lower court in Gujarat for rioting and arson in 2015, during Patidar quota protests that he led.
The High Court later suspended Hardik Patel’s sentence but not the conviction. On Friday, the High Court declined to cancel his conviction.
“My only fault is that I did not bow down before the BJP. This is the result of fighting the government,” he had said. He said that he will campaign across the country for the Congress, which he joined last month.
“We will not get scared. We will keep raising the concerns of the common man with truth, non-violence and honesty. We will ensure that the Congress for a government. For the party, I will campaign in Gujarat and across the country,” he said after the court setback.
The Gujarat government has opposed any stay on Hardik Patel’s conviction, saying he is a habitual offender and there are several cases against him in various police stations. However, the Congress leader argued that the Gujarat government was wasting time.
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