The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea challenging the election of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in 2019 from Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala.
A bench of justices A.S. Bopanna and Dipankar Datta rejected the petition filed by Saritha S. Nair, who had moved the apex court against an October 31, 2019 decision of the Kerala High Court by which her election petitions challenging the Lok Sabha polls in Wayanad and Ernakulam also were dismissed.
On November 2, 2020, Ms. Nair’s plea challenging Mr. Gandhi’s election was rejected by the top court for non-prosecution.
Later, an application seeking the restoration of the plea was filed in the apex court.
When the matter came up for hearing before the court on Friday, the bench allowed the application for restoration.
“The special leave petition is restored to its original number. Having heard counsel for the petitioner on merits, we see no reason to interfere with the impugned order. The special leave petition is, accordingly, dismissed,” the bench said in its order.
On November 2, 2020, the matter had come up before a three-judge bench headed by the then Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde.
“Even on second call, no one was connected through video conferencing. The special leave petition is dismissed for non-prosecution,” the apex court had then said.
Ms. Nair’s nomination papers for contesting the Lok Sabha polls from the Wayanad and the Ernakulam Lok Sabha seats were rejected by the returning officers concerned in 2019 on account of her conviction and sentencing in two criminal cases related to the solar scam in the state.
The high court had not allowed Ms. Nair’s pleas challenging the polls in both the Lok Sabha seats, saying her nomination papers were rejected as the conviction in the two criminal cases were not suspended.
It had said that only the sentences in the cases were suspended by the appellate court.
The High court had said that it was clear from the relief sought in the appeal petition that Ms. Nair had only sought suspension of the sentence and not suspension of conviction.
Ms. Nair’s nomination papers were rejected under Section 8(3) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 which prescribed for disqualification on account of conviction and sentencing in a criminal case.
Mr. Gandhi had won Kerala’s Wayanad seat — the second seat he contested in the 2019 polls — with a record margin of 4,31,770 votes.
He had defeated his nearest rival P.P. Suneer of the Communist Party of India who secured 2,74,597 votes, while Mr. Gandhi got 7,06,367 votes.