Delhi HC reserves verdict on plea of ex-Maha CM against EC notice

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday reserved its verdict on a plea filed by former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan against an Election Commission order finding him guilty of not giving correct account of money spent in his Assembly Election in 2009.

PTI| Last Updated: Aug 26, 2014, 19:53 PM IST

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday reserved its verdict on a plea filed by former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan against an Election Commission order finding him guilty of not giving correct account of money spent in his Assembly Election in 2009.

"The judgment is reserved. Parties should file their written arguments and the case laws, relied upon by them, in the court by 4 pm tomorrow," Justice Suresh Kait said after the lawyers for Chavan and others concluded the arguments.

Senior advocate Rajiv Nayar, who appeared for Chavan, submitted the Election Commission did not follow the procedures in arriving at the findings in the case.

Even the publishers of the advertisements had stated on affidavit before EC that Chavan had no knowledge about it, he said, adding, "Despite all this, EC issued the show cause notice and also gave its findings."

The poll panel, in its July 13, 2014 order, had given Chavan, an MP from Nanded parliamentary seat, a 20-day deadline to respond to the show cause notice which was issued after it found him guilty of failing to "lodge his account of election expenses in the manner required by the (Representation of the People) Act and Rules."

But the high court had on July 28 stayed the Commission's show cause notice to Chavan.

While staying the EC order, the court had also issued a notice to BJP leaders Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Kirit Somaiya along with Independent candidate Madhavrao Kinhalkar who had filed the complaint against Chavan in the Commission.

Earlier, former law minister and senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who also represented Chavan, had said that the former Chief Minister had filed all correct poll expenses relating to 2009 Assembly Elections.

"Chavan had incurred an expenditure of Rs 6.85 lakh in the 2009 Assembly Elections," Sibal had said, adding that he did not know who had issued the advertisements.

Chavan had won the 2009 Assembly polls from Bhokar in Maharashtra's Nanded Lok Sabha constituency. He won the recent Lok Sabha polls from Nanded. 

Earlier, the Supreme Court had asked the high court to decide Chavan's plea within 15 days while refusing to interfere with its July 28 decision staying the show cause notice issued to Chavan on July 13.

In its showcause notice, the poll panel had asked Chavan why he should not be disqualified for failing to give his true and correct expenses incurred in last Assembly polls.

The apex court had said it was not in favour of the matter dragging and wanted that the high court should decide the question of law.

Kinhalkar, who had filed the complaint against Chavan in the Commission, had submitted before the apex court that "prima facie the high court has not given reasons for staying the EC order".

Chavan had pleaded that the July 13 order of EC be set aside to the extent that it holds that he had failed to lodge the poll expense account in the time and manner required under the law. He also sought quashing of the show cause notice.

The former chief minister had also contended that EC has not followed the procedure laid out in the Representation of the People Act prior to give its findings as no opportunity to file revised poll expenses was provided to him.

On July 25, EC had told the high court that being a quasi-judicial body, it will not defend its order passed against Chavan.

Pursuant to this submission, the court had deleted the poll panel from the list of parties in the case.