The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved verdict on a plea seeking annulment of election of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to the state Assembly. The complaint has alleged that CM concealed two criminal cases against him in the election papers. According to the Association for Democratic Reform (ADR), CM Fadnavis has the highest 22 criminal cases out of all 31 Chief Ministers of the country.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose reserved the verdict after senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Fadnavis, and Vivek Tankha, appearing for the petitioner, Satish Ukey, concluded their submissions.
It is worth mention that Ukey moved the Supreme Court after his plea was dismissed by the Bombay High Court. He alleged in his petition that Fadnavis, in his election affidavit filed in 2014, had failed to disclose the pendency of two criminal cases against him. The two cases of alleged cheating and forgery were filed against Fadnavis in 1996 and 1998 but charges have not been framed. Under the provisions of the Representation of the People’s Act 1951, it is compulsory for a candidate contesting elections, to disclose all pending criminal cases against him/her which are pending.
According to the last year’s report of the ADR on country’s 31 Chief Ministers, which also included the criminal cases registered against each of them, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had the highest number of criminal cases, 22, registered against them with 3 serious criminal cases. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and former Jammu & Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti had only one case each registered against them. Out of India’s 31 Chief Ministers, 11 have criminal cases registered against them and eight have serious criminal cases.
Devendra Fadnavis, Maharashtra, Party-BJP: 22 cases
Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis tops the list of CMs with most criminal cases. Some of the charges against Fadnavis include serious charges such as “abetment of such assault, if the assault is committed”, “voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means”, being part of an unlawful assembly, rioting, voluntarily causing hurt and wearing garb or carrying token used by public servant with fraudulent intent.
Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala, Party-CPI (M): 11 cases
The Kerala Chief Minister has the second highest number of criminal cases registered against his name, with serious charges such as “cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property”, rioting and criminal conspiracy.
Delhi CM and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal is number three on the list of CMs with criminal cases with most charges against him being unlawful assembly, obstructing a public servant from the discharge of their duty and defamation.
Raghubar Das, Jharkhand, Party-BJP: 8 cases
Raghubar Das of Jharkhand has eight criminal cases against him, which include cases such as obstruction of lawful apprehension of another person, trespassing with preparation for causing hurt, criminal trespass, obstructing public servant from discharging their duty and wrongful restraint.
Amarinder Singh, Punjab, Party-Congress: 4 cases
Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh, who also features on ADR’s list of three richest CMs in India, has four cases against him under several counts such as cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property, forgery, criminal breach of trust and causing disappearance of evidence.
Yogi Adityanath, Uttar Pradesh, Party-BJP: 4 cases
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath only has four cases against him but the charges all seem serious. These include charges of injuring or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult, rioting, trespassing on burial places, causing mischief by fire or explosive substance and criminal intimidation.
N Chandrababu Naidu, Andhra Pradesh, Party-TDP: 3 cases
Former Andhra CM N Chandrababu Naidu, who emerged as the richest CM of India with assets worth Rs 177 crores, has three criminal cases registered against him. However, ADR does not categorise any of these as “serious” criminal cases.
K Chandrashekar Rao, Telangana, Party-TRS: 2 cases
Telangana CM K Chandrashekar Rao has two criminal cases, which includes charges such as criminal intimidation, unlawful restraint and unlawful assembly.
V Narayanasamy, Puducherry, Party-Congress: 2 cases
CM Narayanaswamy has only two cases against him that relate to “disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant (IPC Section-188)” and acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention (IPC Section-34)
Mehbooba Mufti, Jammu and Kashmir, Party-PDP: 1 case
Former J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti has only one criminal case registered against her name and the only female CM who features on the list of CMs with criminal records. The only case against her is one for defamation.
Nitish Kumar, Bihar, Party-JD (U): 1 case
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has one case registered against him but the charges are serious. He has been booked under section 302 of the IPC, which relates to murder.