‘What’s the urgency?’: Asks SC & denies Hardik Patel’s plea

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined urgent hearing to a plea by Patidar and Congress leader Hardik Patel to suspend his conviction in a 2015 rioting case.

A Bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi denied him an out-of-turn hearing, raising questions on whether he would be able to contest the Lok Sabha polls of 2019 from the Jamnagar constituency in Gujarat.

“The order was passed in August 2018. What is the urgency now?” the bench said while refusing to accord urgent hearing on the petition, news agency PTI reported.

Now, Hardik cannot contest if the SC does not put his conviction on hold by April 4, which is the last date for filing of nominations if he wants to contest in Gujarat, which votes on April 23.

The new Congress recruit had moved the top court after the Gujarat High Court refused to stay his conviction. Last year, Hardik Patel was sentenced to two years in jail by a lower court in Gujarat for rioting and arson in 2015, during Patidar quota protests that he led.

The High Court later suspended Hardik Patel’s sentence but not the conviction. On Friday, the High Court declined to cancel his conviction.

Then, he had moved the Supreme Court seeking an ex-parte stay of his conviction in the 2015 Vispur rioting case, saying the FIRs lodged against him by the ruling BJP in Gujarat is an effort to “suppress the voice of the masses”.

Under the Representation of the People Act, a convict facing a jail term of two years or more cannot contest unless the conviction is stayed.

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