Model code violation case against minister quashed by Gujarat High Court


New Delhi (ILNS): The Gujarat High Court has quashed an order of the Metropolitan Court Ahmedabad, in connection with a 13-year-old case of violation of model code of conduct during the assembly elections in 2007, directing the Meghaninagar Police Station to file a criminal complaint against state Home Minister Pradipsinh Jadeja.

Justice Ilesh Jashvantrai Vora passed this order while allowing a Petition filed by Jadeja’s seeking quashing of the criminal complaint against him for offences under the Representation of the People Act and additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s order in December last year issuing summons to him to face trial in the case.

In the assembly elections of 2007, Pradipsinh Jadeja had registered his candidature from Asarwa seat for BJP. The code of conduct was in force in the state as polling was to be held on December 11 and December 15. During the Garba celebrations in Asarwa area on October 10, Pradipsinh distributed pamphlets carrying slogans ‘Aapnu Gujarat’ (our Gujarat) and ’Aagvu Gujarat’ (leading Gujarat)  without mentioning the name of the printer and publisher.

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As a result, the then city Congress president Pankaj Shah had lodged a complaint against Pradeep Singh for violating the code of conduct. Based on his complaint the District Collector through a letter dated October 25, 2007, filed a written complaint against the petitioner.

The metropolitan court directed Meghaninagar Police Station in Ahmedabad to investigate it under section 202(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

N.D. Nanavati, Senior Counsel  appearing for the Petitioner, submitted that the informant Pankaj Shah belonged to a different political party and nowhere had he stated that the contents of the pamphlet having reference to the declared election nor it contains any material either prompting the applicant or prejudicing any other. The questioned pamphlet could not be admitted or believed as ”election pamphlet” within the meaning as defined in clause (b) of Sub-section (3) of Section 127(A) of the Act, he added.

While giving reliance on the case of Mehmood UI Rehman Vs. Khazir Mohammad Tunda,(2016) 1 SCC (cri) 124, (paras-20, 21 and 22) the counsel submitted that the power exercised under Section 204 Cr.P.C of summoning an accused in criminal case is a serious matter and that the process of criminal law cannot be set into motion in a mechanical manner and order of the Magistrate must reflect that he has applied his mind to the facts of the case and law governing the issue.

The High Court, while considering the submission by the Petitioner’s Counsel, noted: “The pamphlet does not contain the promotion of the election or any election agenda nor any reference to the election notified. Once it is found that the offending material – pamphlet cannot be said to be an ”election pamphlet”, as defined under Section 123A(3)(b) of the Act, it could not be said that prima-facie case is made out against the applicant for the offences under Sections 127A(1), 127A(2)(a) punishable under Section 127A(4) of the Act.

“In light of the provisions of law as well as facts of the complaint and in support of material evidence, this court is of the view that the trial court failed to consider the facts and applicable law in its proper perspective and without any basis initiated judicial processing mechanically against the applicant,” the Court further noted.

“Under the circumstances as well as for the reasons stated above, the present petition is allowed. The impugned order dated 21.12.2019 summoning the applicant and directing to register the complaint for the offences under Section 127A(1), 127A(2)(a) punishable under Section 127A(4) of the Act, 1951 and proceedings of Criminal Case No. 114499 of 2019 are hereby quashed and set aside”, reads the Judgement in conclusion.

Read the order here;

27-10-2020



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