The Supreme Court on Monday, 18 September, stayed Janata Dal (S) leader Prajwal Revanna’s disqualification as a Lok Sabha member. The apex court also said he could participate in the Lok Sabha proceedings but should not vote in the proceedings of the House or any of the parliamentary committees.
The court also ordered that Prajwal should not draw any allowances.
Staying Prajwal’s disqualification by 1 September, 2023, order of the Karnataka High Court, a bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra said that Prajwal could contest the election for Lok Sabha which was scheduled for next year.
The bench stayed the operation of the high court order that disqualified Prajwal on the grounds of the non-disclosure of certain details in his election affidavit and for alleged corruption, said his advocate Mayank Kshirsagar.
Prajwal Revanna is grand son of former prime minister HD Deve Gowda.
The high court judgement
The high court had declared as “null and void” the election of the Prajwal from the Hassan Lok Sabha seat for submitting a false affidavit while filing his nomination papers in 2019.
A single-judge bench of Justice Natarajan also disqualified him from contesting polls for the next six years.
The high court disqualified Prajwal based on petitions filed by the then BJP candidate, A Manju, and a voter in Hassan, Advocate Devarajegowda. Incidentally, Manju is now a JD(S) MLA from Arkalgud.
The high court also served notice on Holenarasipura MLA and Prajwal’s father HD Revanna in connection with the case.
First-time parliamentarian Prajwal defeated Manju by a margin of 1.41 lakh votes in 2019. Soon after the election, Manju and Devarajegowda filed separate petitions, accusing the Hassan MP of providing false information regarding his immovable assets and bank statements in the affidavit submitted to the Election Commission.
Malpractices and non-declaration of assets
The petitions cited several malpractices as well as non-declaration of assets. They claimed that Prajwal showed the value of the Chennambika Conventional Hall as ₹14 lakh, even as it was worth at least ₹5 crore.
It was also alleged that Prajwal declared a bank balance of ₹5 lakh despite having ₹48 lakh in his account. He was also accused of holding assets through benamis and committing income-tax fraud.
“Both the election petitions filed by the petitioners are allowed in part. The election of the returned candidate, Respondent No 1 namely MP Prajwal Revanna, Constituency 16, Hassan (General), having been declared as returned candidate dated 23.5.2019 is hereby declared as null and void,” Justice Natarajan had ruled.
The high court, however, dismissed the prayer of the petitioners to declare Manju as the winning candidate as he himself had been “involved in corrupt practices”.
“The prayer of the petitioners in both cases to declare A Manju as a returned candidate is rejected in view of the findings that he himself (is) involved in corrupt practices,” the court said.
The bench also directed the Election Commission to initiate action against Prajwal’s father Revanna (MLA and former minister) and brother Suraj Revanna (MLC) for election malpractice.
“HD Revanna and Suraj Revanna are named in the complaint under the 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 court said.