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HC refuses to suspend conviction of NCP’s poll aspirant

Bombay High CourtThe Bombay High Court has refused to suspend the conviction of a Pune-based NCP member in an attempt to murder case, to allow him to file nomination for the upcoming Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation election.

Justice A M Badar refused to suspend the conviction of Navnath Taras while observing that provisions of Representation of the People Act clearly state that persons convicted and awarded sentence of more than two years cannot contest elections.

“Conviction of an accused in a criminal case cannot be suspended mechanically just to fulfil his wishes,” the court said while dismissing the application filed by Taras seeking suspension of his conviction pending appeal.

Taras wanted to file his nomination so that he could contest the upcoming municipal corporation election.

In 2012, Taras and three others were sentenced by a Pune sessions court to five years of rigorous imprisonment for attempting to kill a rival Congress activist during the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) elections held in 2007.

Justice Badar noted that Taras was convicted under the serious charge of attempt to murder, in an incident which has its origin in the PCMC election.

“No doubt, right to vote and right to contest are constitutional rights of a citizen. But at the same time, one will have to keep in mind that the object of Legislature in enacting the Representation of the People Act, is to keep away a person convicted of offences and sentenced to suffer imprisonment for more than two years from contesting elections,” Justice Badar said recently.

“The powers to suspend a conviction are to be exercised with due care and caution and that too in exceptional circumstances. In the case in hand, the applicant has been convicted of offence under section 307 (attempt to murder) of IPC and the cause of prosecuting him was the earlier election of municipal corporation,” the court noted.

The high court refused to accept the argument of the applicant’s lawyer that the trial court had acquitted four persons during trial and that evidence against the present applicant was weak.

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