Political / There are 23 cases registered against Hardik Patel, what will be the effect on his political future?

Zoom News : May 22, 2022, 08:59 AM
New Delhi: Hardik Patel had resigned from the Congress on 18 May. Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee president Jagdish Thakor claimed that the Patidar leader feared that he would be jailed for the sedition cases registered against him. So he felt the need for shelter of 'someone' (he was referring to the BJP). What are the cases against Hardik, and how could they affect his political career? Let us try to understand in detail…

Cases filed against Hardik Patel

Hardik has been named as an accused in at least 30 FIRs registered between 2015 and 2018. Seven of these cases were registered during the 2015 agitation demanding reservation in government jobs and education for the Patidar community in Gujarat, in which Hardik was charged with several criminal offenses such as rioting and sedition. Hardik Patel was leading this movement. An FIR was registered against Hardik for alleged internal disputes in the Patidar agitation.

For example, an FIR was lodged at Mehsana's Kadi police station in August 2015, alleging financial fraud against Hardik on a complaint by Prakash Patel, the then vice-chairman of the Sardar Patel Group. In other cases, a case was registered against Hardik Patel in 2016 under the Jail Act at Sachin Police Station in Surat. When he was being taken to Visnagar for a court hearing, a mobile phone charger, battery and letter were recovered from his pocket. The matter was settled by Surat JMFC in 2017. According to Hardik, 23 cases are going on against him at present.

Hardik Patel, in 2016 before the Gujarat High Court, while seeking relief in respect of cases registered against him, had taken an oath that, "without directly or indirectly indulging in any activity which may constitute an offence, Patidar Will continue to take up the problems of the community, and will continue to oppose the government for its redressal. He will not indulge in any act or activities creating law and order situation across the state. Will not indulge in activities provoking public in any way.

But subsequent rallies and protests stemming from the 2015 Patidar agitation resulted in the registration of FIRs against Hardik in 2016, 2017 and 2018. The Gujarat government, often uses it to oppose Hardik's plea for punishment, bail or relief in any case. Most of these FIRs were related to organizing unlawful assembly in violation of Section 144 of CrPC or holding of rallies or public meetings despite denial of permission by the state authority.

Latest status of cases registered against Hardik Patel

Currently, Hardik is facing court proceedings in at least 11 cases, which are pending at various stages, including 2 of sedition. In this regard, one FIR is registered at Crime Branch police station in Ahmedabad and another FIR is registered at Amroli police station in Surat. In the remaining cases, the case has either been withdrawn by the state, the case has been dismissed by the Gujarat High Court, the case has been decided by a competent court, or no proceedings have been initiated. In July 2018, a Visnagar court sentenced Hardik Patel to two years' imprisonment in a case of rioting and arson.

As part of this incident, in the year 2015, the office of BJP MLA Rushikesh Patel in Visnagar was set on fire. Rushikesh is now the health minister of the state. With an appeal pending before the Gujarat High Court, the Supreme Court had stayed the conduct of the conviction until a decision was made in April this year. Earlier, Hardik had tried to stay the conviction against him from the Gujarat High Court to gain the eligibility to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, but the court refused to stay.

Recently, two courts allowed the Gujarat government to withdraw the cases against Hardik. One case was in relation to holding a public rally without permission in Tankara in Morbi district in 2017, and the other in relation to vandalism in the residence of a BJP corporator in 2017. At least 2 other cases were settled by the Vadodara court and the Surat court respectively. The Gujarat High Court had also quashed the FIR and chargesheet filed against Hardik Patel in December 2021. This FIR was registered against him for organizing a roadshow in Bhopal in 2017 despite denial of permission by the police.

Courts imposed restrictions on Hardik Patel

In July 2016, the Gujarat High Court, while granting bail to Hardik Patel in a 2015 sedition case, had stipulated that he would be outside the state of Gujarat for a period of 6 months from the date of his release from judicial custody and prior permission of the Court. You will not change your residence address in these 6 months without permission. Hardik spent this time in Udaipur, Rajasthan. In January 2020, after the Patidar leader was arrested for failing to appear for trial in a 2015 sedition case, the Ahmedabad trial court granted him bail on the condition that he would have to seek the court's permission before leaving Gujarat. Hardik moved Gujarat High Court seeking removal of this condition