The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the conviction of Gujarat Congress working president Hardik Patel in a rioting and arson case. A bench of Justices S A Nazeer and Vikram Nath said this is a fit case for the high court to have stayed the conviction.
At the outset, senior advocate Maninder Singh submitted that not allowing Patel to contest election is a violation of his right to freedom of expression.
“It is a violation. I have already lost one chance to contest the election in 2019. We are before your lordships to get our rights under Article 19(1)(a) to be enforced. They have misused the police power. Therefore, I don’t know what they have to say, but my lords must decide this case soon,” he said.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the basic parameters for conviction are set. “In criminal law, there is no one standard guideline to say which one is right. Your lordship may decide the issue. Whether Patel might have won or not, is not the issue in this case,” he said.
The bench then passed the order and said,”Having regard to the facts and circumstances, we are of the view that this is the fit case for the high court to have stayed the conviction. The conviction is, hereby, stayed until the appeals are decided accordingly.”
The top court was hearing a plea filed by Patel against the judgment of the Gujarat High Court seeking suspension of the conviction so that he could contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Patel had sought a direction to suspend the conviction order passed on July 25, 2018, by a sessions court in Mahesana in Visnagar. He had also challenged the validity of the high court’s order of March 29 refusing his plea for a stay on the conviction.