Gujarat: Plea challenges BJP MLA's caste certificate, HC send summons
(Sourced from PTI)
The Gujarat High Court has issued summons to BJP MLA Nimisha Suthar and the Election Commission of India on a petition filed by Congress's Suresh Katara, challenging her caste certificate submitted for the bypoll to Morva Hadaf constituency reserved for Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates. Justice Nikhil S Kariel issued to her and other respondents summons under provisions of the Representation of the People Act.
Suthar and other respondents, including the election officer and the Election Commission of India (ECI), have been asked to appear before the HC on August 2. Suthar won the by-election to the Morva Hadaf Assembly constituency on May 2 this year, by defeating her Congress rival Katara. Katara alleged that the caste certificate submitted by Suthar to the ECI was false and unverified.
Notably, Suthar won the by-election that was necessitated due to Independent MLA Bhupendra Khant's death in January this year. Khant's caste certificate was also earlier invalidated by the Gujarat governor, after which he was disqualified as an MLA. But Khant had challenged the governor's decision to disqualify him, which was pending in the court before being rendered infructuous and disposed of following his death.
In his plea, Katara claimed that Suthar did not belong to the ST community and her caste certificate was false and submitted without any verification. The petitioner said he had made a representation against Suthar's nomination form before the returning officer ahead of the bypoll, but the officer rejected his objection without any proper appreciation of the facts and accepted the BJP leader's nomination.