PIL seeking disqualification of Patancheru TRS MLA G. Mahipal Reddy

Hyderabad: A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in Telangana High Court seeking the disqualification of Patancheru TRS MLA G. Mahipal Reddy. The disqualification has been sought on the grounds that his conviction in a criminal case and sentence of two years six months was in force at the time of his filing nomination. And that he had wilfully concealed this fact and contested the polls and became an MLA. Further, the petition sought an interim order from the Court to retrain him from functioning as an MLA till the petition is disposed.

Arava Harish Yadav, a Hyderabad resident filed PIL, which is listed for hearing before the Chief Justice-led bench on Monday. The petitioner informed the Court that Mr Mahipal Reddy was convicted and sentenced to two-and-a-half years of imprisonment by the additional judicial first class magistrate at Sangareddy in a judgment delivered on December 10, 2015. The charges against him were Sec. 342 of IPC (wrongful confinement), Sec 386 (extortion by putting person in fear of death or grievous hurt), Sec 447 (trespass), Sec 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and Sec 506 (criminal intimidation).

Mr Mahipal Reddy filed an appeal with the additional district and sessions judge, Medak, both his conviction and sentence of imprisonment were suspended by the Court in an interim order on December 18, 2015. As of today, Mr Mahipal Reddy’s appeal is pending in the Court of the special sessions judge, Hyderabad. This court has been established for the speedy disposal of cases pending against the public representatives and to which Court the Mr Mahipal Reddy’s appeal was transferred from Medak.

The petitioner contended that as per Section 8 (3) of Representation of People Act, 1951, Mr Mahipal Reddy was disqualified from continuing as a MLA with effect from December 10, 2015, the day of conviction. But, due to the interim order of the lower appellate court, Mr Mahipal Reddy finished his remainder term and went on to contest again in the 2018 Assembly elections and won. In the nomination form, Mr Mahipal Reddy mentioned about his conviction and sentence of imprisonment but also showed that they were suspended by the lower appellate court, and therefore his nomination was in order and he could contest.

The petitioner contended that this was a misrepresentation of facts in the nomination papers. As per the Supreme Court order dated March 28, 2018, interim orders in all pending matters will automatically lapse after six months from the date of judgment i.e. March 28, 2019 unless specifically extended by the courts. The interim order in Mr Mahipal Reddy’s case was not extended and as such it automatically lapsed and therefore he was disqualified from September 29, 2018 to contest for any public offices, including of an MLA. The petitioner contended that this crucial information was suppressed by Mr Mahipal Reddy in his nomination form and he filed a false affidavit to the election authorities to contest the elections held on December 7, 2018 and consequently he was declared as elected candidate by the Election Commission.

The petitioner asserted that since a disqualified candidate is being continued as a MLA in contravention to the law of the land, as a responsible citizen, he approached the court seeking correction of this constitutional aberration by issuing a Writ of Quo Warranto to Mr Mahipal Reddy to show under what authority he is holding the office of the Member of Legislative Assembly, Patancheru Assemly Constituency as he is disqualified under Sec 8 (3) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 and as per the judgment of Supreme Court dated March 28, 2018. The petitioner in the interim sought an injunction restraining Mr Mahipal Reddy from functioning as a MLA till the disposal of the petition.

State of Telangana, Election Commission of India, Telangana State Election Commission and Telangana State Assembly have been made Respondent parties in the petition.

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