Gujarat HC reserves order on petition challenging Min Chudasma's victory

Gujarat HC reserves order on petition challenging Min Chudasma's victory

Agency News

Ahmedabad, Feb 10: Gujarat High Court on Monday concluded the hearing on the petition challenging the thin-margin victory of state minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama in the last assembly election from Dholka constituency of Ahmedabad district and reserved its order.

Congress candidate Ashwin Rathod who had lost by a margin of just 327 votes in the 2017 assembly election had filed this case in the high court demanding the re-verification of the 429 postal ballots rejected by Returning officer Dhaval Jani claiming that such a step would have changed the result and might have turned it in his favour.

Chudasma had in September last year appeared in the high court to depose and even apologised for filing pleas in the Supreme Court questioning the credibility of a high court judge in a trial related to an election petition questioning his victory. He had withdrawn that petition from the apex court too.

The court of Justice Paresh Upadhyay had during last hearing asked both the parties to submit their written submissions by today. The counsel of the petitioner had concluded the argument in December while that of Chudasama did so last month. The court has not mentioned any date for pronouncing its reserved verdict.

Chudasama's advocate had argued that a CCTV footage allegedly showing his assistant PS talking over cellphone in a polling booth premises could not be accepted as an evidence without verification by the relevant authority according to the provision of the Evidence Act.

He had however argued that the counting of votes was done in accordance with rules and in presence of authorised officers so there was no need for re-verification of the postal ballots in question. The petitioner had not sought recounting immediately after the counting.

Notably, the then returning officer Dhaval Jani had admitted before the court that he did not follow certain instructions of the Election Commission during the counting of votes. He had said that he would have carried out the re-verification as the number of postal ballots rejected was more than the victory margin.(UNI)