New Delhi, May 15: The Supreme Court on Friday stayed an order by the Gujarat High Court, setting aside BJP leader Bhupendrasinh Chudasama’s 2017 election.

A bench headed by Justice MM Shantanagouder issued notice to the Election Commission and Chudasama’s rival Congress candidate Ashwin Rathod on the appeal filed by the BJP leader against the high court order of May 12, The Hindustan Times reported.

Senior advocates Harish Salve and NK Kaul represented Chudasama while the rival Congress candidate was represented by senior advocate Kapil Sibal.

Chudasama won from Dholka assembly constituency in the election held on December 14, 2017. Rathod had challenged Chudasama’s victory by a margin of mere 327 votes.

In his election petition, Rathod alleged that Chudasama indulged in “corrupt practice and breach of many of the mandatory instructions of the Election Commission, at various stages of the election process, more particularly at the time of counting of votes”.

The high court had on May 12, nullified 2017 election of Chudasama on the ground of malpractice and manipulation and also refused to stay of the operation of the order till the disposal of his appeal. The high court had held that Returning Officer “illegally rejected” 429 postal ballots during the counting of votes, while the victory margin was only 327.

Chudasama currently holds charge of the education, law and justice, legislative and parliamentary affairs, and some other departments in the Vijay Rupani government.

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