Delhi HC upholds disqualification of MP minister Narottam Mishra

MOBILE_TOWER-Arjun Vats

The apex court also directed a day to day hearing and disposal of the matter before July 17, the day Presidential elections are to be held.

The bench, while dismissing the application for an interim stay of the single bench order passed on July, upheld the Election Commission of India's decision of June 23 to disqualify Mishra following the establishment of his guilt in the paid news case.

With today's order, it has become certain that the BJP leader will not be able to cast his vote in the Presidential Elections scheduled for tomorrow.

The single judge bench of the Delhi high court had earlier said that as per the provisions of the Representation of the People Act (RPA), the disqualification of a candidate has to be from the date of the order. He also said that the decision of the ECI would not affect the present tenure of Mishra.

Sources said the government would prefer to wait for the decision of the two-judge bench before taking any decision.

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The matter reached the Delhi high court after the apex court on July 12, transferred the matter to it to be decided expeditiously before the July 17 presidential polls. However, the court held that the effect of the order on a subsequent election is not to be taken into account.

The Election Commission, while disqualifying Mishra for not disclosing expenditure incurred on paid news in local media during the 2008 assembly elections, had said that it was concerned about the "menace of paid news" which has been assuming "alarming proportions" in the electoral landscape.

The EC order disqualifying Mishra had come on a complaint filed in 2009 by Congress MLA Rajender Bharti, who had unsuccessfully contested against Mishra from Datia constituency.

Amid opposition demand to dismiss state legislative minister Narottam Mishra from cabinet, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan broke his silence, though unofficially, saying that he would talk to party seniors and seek legal advice on the issue during his New Delhi visit.

The EC order had said that all the 42 news items that had appeared in five Hindi dailies were "extremely biased in favour of" Mishra.

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