Gujarat HC asks Hardik Patel's lawyer not to make more allegations

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday asked Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel's lawyer not to make further allegations which may aggravate the situation in the state and sought another shorter affidavit to substantiate Hardik's claims about alleged abduction.

Hardik's lawyer B M Mangukia on Tuesday filed a detailed affidavit making more allegations against the state. But the division bench of Justices M R Shah and K J Thaker said the allegations and counter-allegations were not desirable.

Two aides of Hardik had filed a habeas corpus petition when he had gone missing after a public meeting at Tenpur village in Bayad tehsil of Aravali village on September 22. The 22-year-old leader of Patels' agitation surfaced on September 23 and alleged that he had been abducted by 'a person looking like cops.'

"Petitioners have filed an affidavit-in-rejoinder. It contains further allegations against the state administration.

It was suggested to the petitioner's advocate B M Mangukia to file a short affidavit in the habeas corpus petition and avoid any allegations and counter allegations," the HC today said.

"He (Mangukia) took suggestions in right spirit and he takes back the affidavit and will file a short affidavit to substantiate his claims in the petition," said the HC order.

"It must be ensured that no allegations or counter- allegations are made which might aggravate the situation."

When Hardik appeared before the court following his `abduction' and release, the judges had expressed doubts about his claims, and asked his lawyer to file an affidavit to substantiate the allegations.

Advocate Mangukia on Tuesday said during the arguments that he was ready to withdraw his allegations and he had never said that the police had abducted Hardik.

After going through the affidavit, the court said it did not substantiate the allegations. "Substantiating allegations is something different. You have cited reasons for panic. Your rejoinder is more or less like your petition. In rejoinder, you have put severe allegations," the HC told Mangukia.

"A hoax was created or some extra-ordinary urgency was created....Do not further aggravate the situation. It won't be in anyone's benefit. Unfortunately, small things become major and that is not in the interest of the state or the society," the High Court said.

Advocate General Kamal Trivedi, representing the state government, also questioned the claims in Hardik's affidavit.

"If any person without uniform comes with a gun and abducts somebody, will you blame the police? The police didn't abduct Hardik. He should himself file an affidavit," Trivedi said. But the HC said that Hardik had already given his statement on oath.

The judges also said that the police should not be demoralised. "Nothing is against them (police) and nobody should make it a prestige issue. If the matter is put to an end and an amicable solution is arrived at, then the court has no objection."

The bench also quipped that Hardik's services could be used 'for betterment of the society like Swachhata Abhiyan.'

Next hearing is scheduled for October 8.

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