In a setback to Bidar South MLA Ashok Kheny, the High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday held there was “cause of action to hold trial” against him based on the allegations made in a petition that has questioned the legality of his election.
Justice K.N. Keshavanarayana passed the order, while rejecting an application filed by Mr. Kheny seeking dismissal of the petition. The petition was filed by T.J. Abraham, who contested against Mr. Kheny in the 2013 Assembly elections. Mr. Kheny, in his application, claimed that the material produced by Mr. Abraham did not show any cause of action to conduct trial to decide on legality of his election. The court observed: “It can’t be said that there are no triable issues in the case and it can’t be said that petition does not disclose a cause of action. By reading the petition as a whole, I am satisfied that it discloses cause of action and this is not a matter which can be thrown out at the threshold.” The petitioner had claimed that Mr. Kheny could not have been allowed to contest the elections as he ceased to be a citizen of India after voluntarily acquiring the citizenship of a foreign country as per the Citizenship Act. The petition also claimed that Mr. Kheny was disqualified from contesting elections under Section 9A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 as he had a business contract with the State government pertaining to the Bangalore–Mysore Infrastructure Corridor project in addition to “not [being] a voter” in Bidar South constituency.
Denying these allegations, Mr. Kheny said he was a citizen of India and was a voter of the constituency.