In a major relief to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, the Supreme Court on Monday rejected a plea challenging the election of the Congress leader from Wayanad Lok Sabha seat in Kerala. Notably, Rahul Gandhi won the 2019 general election from Wayanad.
A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde and also comprising of Justice AS Bopanna and Justice V Ramasubramanian initially passed over the matter as no one appeared for the petitioner Saritha S Nair. Later, when the petition was taken up by the bench, it dismissed her appeal that she had filed against the Kerala High Court order.
Appeal filed against HC order
Saritha S Nair had moved the top court against the October 31, 2019, verdict of the Kerala High Court by which her election petition challenging the Lok Sabha polls in Wayanad and Ernakulam also were dismissed.
Saritha S Nair’s nomination papers for contesting Lok Sabha polls from Wayanad and Ernakulam Lok Sabha seats were rejected by the returning officers in 2019 on account of her conviction and sentencing in two criminal cases related to the solar scam in the state.
The top court had on June 10 taken note of the plea of Nair’s lawyer for adjournment and had deferred the hearing for November 2.
The Kerala High Court had not allowed Nair’s pleas challenging the polls in both Lok Sabha seats and said that 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 said it was clear from the relief sought in the appeal petition that Nair had only sought suspension of the sentence and not the suspension of conviction.
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.
Rahul Gandhi won Wayanad, lost Amethi
Gandhi had won Kerala’s Wayanad seat—the second seat he contested in the 2019 polls—with a record margin of 431,770 votes.
He defeated his nearest rival PP Suneer of the Communist Party of India who secured 274,597 votes, while Gandhi got 706,367 votes.
Apart from Wayanad, Rahul Gandhi had fought the 2019 general election from then Congress bastion Amethi. However, BJP’s Smriti Irani defeated Rahul Gandhi by over 55,000 votes.
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