Asks Election Commission to take action against MLA H.D. Revanna and MLC Suraj Revanna
Bengaluru: The High Court of Karnataka yesterday declared the election of JD(S) MP from Hassan, Prajwal Revanna, as null and void. This decision came as a result of two petitions filed by G. Devarajegowda, a voter from the Constituency and A. Manju, who was the defeated candidate from the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Additionally, Justice K. Natarajan directed the Election Commission of India to take action against Prajwal for election malpractice according to the Conduct of Election Process Rules.
Prajwal Revanna, the grandson of JD(S) patriarch and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, was the only candidate from his party to win the Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka in 2019. Notably, Manju, who initially contested against Prajwal on a BJP ticket and lost, later joined JD(S) and is currently an MLA. The petitions alleged that Prajwal engaged in election malpractice and failed to declare his assets to the Election Commission.
Justice Natarajan, in his ruling, declared Prajwal’s election as null and void, stating, “Both the election petitions filed by the petitioners are allowed in part. The election of returned candidate, Respondent No 1, namely Prajwal Revanna alias R. Prajwal, Member of the Parliament, Constituency 16, Hassan (General), having been declared as the returned candidate dated 23.5.2019 is hereby declared as null and void.”
However, the HC rejected the petitioners’ request to declare Manju as the winning candidate, citing his involvement in corrupt practices. The HC stated, “The prayer of the petitioners in both the cases to declare Manju as returned candidate is rejected in view of the findings that he himself (is) involved in corrupt practices.”
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. The HC stated, “H.D. 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 the election, and also Manju, who is also involved in corrupt practice. Election Commission to issue notice and comply with the Conduct of Election Process Rules.”
The petitions outlined numerous instances of malpractice and non-disclosure of assets by Prajwal. It was alleged that Prajwal undervalued Channambika Convention Hall, claiming it was worth only Rs. 14 lakh, while its actual value was at least Rs. 5 crore.
The Court found Prajwal guilty of various election-related corrupt practices under the Representation of People’s Act, 1951. He provided false information about the market value of some of his properties, concealed his actual bank account balance, and failed to disclose a Rs. 50 lakh loan credited to his account. Moreover, he did not provide comprehensive details of his assets, liabilities, investments, and bank balances, and he failed to submit income tax returns for relevant periods.
H.D. Revanna was found to have misused funds allocated to Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Limited for other development works to influence voters in favour of his son. Furthermore, Rs. 1.2 lakh in cash was seized from Dr. Suraj, implying it was intended for election distribution. The Court dismissed Prajwal’s claim that the cash was for purchasing cattle feed and groceries.
The Court also revealed that Prajwal committed corrupt practices through his father and family members by facilitating votes by proxy voters, bringing non-voters to polling stations with the help of polling officials, and misusing his father’s position. The Court noted that Prajwal exceeded the Election Commission’s expenditure limit of Rs. 70 lakh, spending over Rs. 1 crore while declaring only Rs. 63 lakh in expenditures.
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 judgement copy. I will know as to why it was done and will react. Will see the Court order and will appeal in the Supreme Court where justice will prevail.” — H.D. Revanna, MLA and former Minister
They have made several allegations against me. Will meet grandfather and family members to decide on the future course of action. All the documents and records have been submitted to the Election Commission and the Court. I am ready to wage a legal battle.” —Prajwal Revanna, disqualified MP