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Setback for Hardik Patel as Supreme Court declines hearing

Hardik had moved the apex court to seek a stay on his conviction in a 2015 case of rioting.

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dna Correspondent

Updated: Apr 03, 2019, 05:30 AM IST

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Patidar leader Hardik Patel's hopes of contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Gujarat have received a major blow, after the Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to give his plea an urgent hearing. Hardik had moved the apex court to seek a stay on his conviction in a 2015 case of rioting.

The last date for filing nominations is April 4, and if Hardik doesn't manage to get a stay on the conviction before that, he won't be allowed to contest the polls. On March 29, the Gujarat High Court had refused to grant him relief, following which he moved the apex court.

On Tuesday, lawyers appearing for Hardik informed the court that he is seeking extraordinary relief to list his case and hear the appeal because there were only two days for the nomination deadline. But the bench had a pointed query to Patel's counsel. "The order of conviction passed against you is of July 25, 2018. What were you doing since then? You did not challenge it then; what's the urgency now?" the bench asked.

When Hardik's counsel Prashanto Chandra Sen submitted that the high court order refusing a stay on the conviction was on March 29, the court said, "The high court order was passed on August 8, 2018. Now you suddenly wake up and seek an urgent hearing. How can we help you when you can't help yourself?"

The petition drafted and filed by advocate Divyesh Pratap Singh said that in August 2018, the high court suspended Hardik's sentence but didn't consider the aspect of a stay on conviction. On March 8 this year, Hardik moved a fresh application to suspend his conviction owing to the upcoming general election.

Solicitor general Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Gujarat government, pointed out that it's too late in the day to entertain the request. Since August 2018, he hadn't bothered to appeal, and it's only because he wants to contest the elections that he's doing so now. The bench then told Hardik, "When you have suffered the conviction, where is the urgency?"

Hardik will now attempt a second chance of mentioning the matter on Wednesday before an alternate bench, his counsels informed.

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