HC reserves order on MP minister’s plea against disqualification

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New Delhi, July 13 (IANS) Delhi High Court on Thursday reserved its judgement on a plea filed by Madhya Pradesh Minister Narottam Mishra, challenging his disqualification by the Election Commission (EC).

Justice Indermeet Kaur reserved the verdict after hearing arguments from the counsels of Mishra, the EC and complainant Rajender Bharti.

The Commission had, on June 23, disqualified Mishra for not disclosing expenses he incurred on paid news in his election expenditure returns in the 2008 assembly polls and debarred him from contesting elections for three years.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed Mishra to move the Delhi High Court after he failed to get any interim relief from the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

The Minister had moved the apex court seeking an urgent hearing of the plea either by the high court or the apex court itself, so that he could participate in the polling for presidential election on July 17.

The top court in its order had said that the outcome of the case has an “important bearing” on whether Mishra would continue to be a member of the state assembly and vote in the presidential election.

The Madhya Pradesh assembly session begins from July 17 and the voting for the Presidential election is also on the same day.

The EC while disqualifying Mishra had said that it was concerned about the “menace of paid news” which has been assuming “alarming proportions” in the electoral landscape.

This phenomenon, a manifestation of the “pernicious effect of money in elections”, has been growing increasingly vicious and “spreading like cancer”, the EC had said.

The EC order disqualifying Mishra had come on a complaint filed in 2009 by Congress MLA Bharti, who had unsuccessfully contested against Mishra from Datia constituency in the 2008 assembly poll.

–IANS

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