The Karnataka High Court on Friday declared null and void the election of former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda grandson and Janata Dal (Secular) MP Prajwal Revanna from Hassan Lok Sabha seat.
Justice K Natarajan in his judgment partly allowing the two petitions filed by G Devarajegowda, a voter from the constituency, and A Manju, the then BJP’s defeated candidate (2019 LS polls) also directed the Election Commission of India to take action against Prajwal Revanna for election malpractice as per the Conduct of Election Process Rules.
Prajwal Revanna is the grandson of JD(S) patriarch and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, and is the only candidate from the party to have won the Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka in 2019.
Manju, who fought the Lok Sabha election against Revanna on a BJP ticket and lost, subsequently joined JD(S), and is currently an MLA. The petitions had claimed that Revanna indulged in election malpractice and did not declare his assets to the Election Commission.
Justice K Natarajan dictated the operative portion of his judgment in the court on Friday.
“Both the election petitions filed by the petitioners are allowed in part. The election of returned candidate, Respondent No 1 namely Prajwal Revanna alias Prajwal R, Member of the Parliament, Constituency 16, Hassan (General) having been declared as returned candidate dated 23.5.2019 is hereby declared as null and void,” Justice Natarajan said.
The high court however dismissed the prayer of the petitioners to declare Manju as the winning candidate as he himself was "involved in corrupt practices".
"The prayer of the petitioners in both the cases to declare A Manju as returned candidate is rejected in view of the findings that he himself (is) involved in corrupt practices,” the HC said.
The HC also directed the Election Commission to take action against Prajwal’s father H D Revanna (MLA and former minister) and brother Suraj Revanna (MLC) for election malpractice.
“H D Revanna and Suraj Revanna are named in the complaint under Representation of People’s Act for having committed corrupt practice at the time of election and also A Manju, who is also involved in corrupt practice. Election Commission to issue notice and comply with Conduct of Election Process Rules,” the HC said.
The petitions had cited several examples of malpractices as well as non-declaration of assets by Prajwal.
It was claimed that the Chennambika Conventional Hall was worth at least Rs 5 crore but was declared as worth only Rs 14 lakh by Prajwal. Another example was the bank balance in an account declared as Rs 5 lakh but allegedly having a deposit of Rs 48 lakh.
It was alleged that the MP had several assets in the names of benamis and that he had also committed "income tax fraud".
Reacting to the development, Prajwal's father HD Revanna said he is yet to get details about the court's decision, and maintained that it is the duty of everyone to respect the courts and abide by the law.
"I don't know about it (court order), I have got to know about it from you (media). Everyone will have to bow down to the law. I have not seen the judgment copy.
I will know as to why it was done and will react," he said.
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