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Issue of delay in filing plea against Narendra Modi crucial: HC

The Gujarat High Court today adjourned the hearing on a petition challenging an order of the sessions court which refused to initiate action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi…

The Gujarat High Court today adjourned the hearing on a petition challenging an order of the sessions court which refused to initiate action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allegedly filing a false affidavit at the time of 2012 Gujarat Assembly elections.

Adjourning the hearing to July 3, acting Chief Justice V M Sahai noted that whether the petitioner Nishant Verma’s original application had been made within the stipulated time was a key issue.

The matter was adjourned after advocate K R Koshti, the petitioner’s lawyer, sought more time for preparation. Koshti also said that his client wanted to engage a senior counsel to argue the case.

Verma, a member of Aam Aadmi Party, has challenged the February 2015 order of the sessions court rejecting his application. He had sought action against Modi for not mentioning his wife’s name in the 2012 election affidavit.

Before that, in June last year, a magistrate had dismissed Verma’s application on the ground of delay in filing the application.

During the arguments today, Koshti said Modi left the column about `spouse’ blank in the affidavit when he filed nomination in the November 2012.

But when he contested the Lok Sabha election last year, Modi mentioned his wife’s name in the affidavit, thus disclosing the earlier omission, the lawyer said.

The magistrate agreed that there had been an offence but still rejected the application because of delay, advocate Koshti said.

To this, Justice Sahai said “if this (plea) is time-barred then the order of the courts (sessions and magisterial) is illegal and if it is not time-barred, then the case is over.”

Verma contends that Modi committed offence under section 125(A)(3) of the Representation of People Act by not disclosing facts about his marital status in 2012.

Section 125 A(3) is about concealing information in election affidavit and provides for upto six months’ jail term.

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First published on: 26-06-2015 at 20:10 IST