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Delhi HC to hear plea of disqualified MP minister tomorrow

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Disqualified Minister Narottam Mishra's desperate plea seeking to vote in the July 17 Presidential today travelled from the Supreme to the High Court, which decided to give him an urgent hearing tomorrow.

His petition, which was mentioned early in the day before an apex bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud, was posted for hearing in the post-lunch session and, after brief arguments, it was transferred to the High

Immediately, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Mishra, rushed to the High When the bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal was about to rise for the day, he mentioned the matter and informed about the developments in the apex

The High bench, also comprising Justice C Hari Shankar, agreed to constitute a special bench as sought by the apex for hearing the matter so that it could be decided before the Presidential poll.

The high asked Rohatgi to ensure that the needful and relevant paperbooks are submitted before the Registrar General immediately.

The BJP leader had approached the top against the High order refusing to give him an urgent hearing on his plea seeking permission to vote in the to be held on July 17.

Congress leader Rajendra Bharti, represented by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, had opposed Mishra's plea.

The apex then asked both lawyers to appear before the High seeking constitution of a special bench to hear the minister's plea challenging a June 23 order of the Commission of India (ECI).

The ECI had on June 23 disqualified Mishra for three years over paid charges, holding him guilty of filing wrong accounts of poll expenditure relating to articles and advertorials in the media during the 2008 assembly polls.

While asking them to move the High Court, the apex said, "We are of the view, that (right to vote in the presidential election) can only be determined after the challenge raised to the order passed by the Commission of India on June 23, 2017, is suitably addressed by the High Court, finally or by an interim order as the High may consider appropriate."

Rohatgi had submitted before the apex that he has challenged the order of High refusing an urgent hearing to his interim prayer to allow him to vote in the presidential

The former AG had said Mishra has challenged his disqualification by the Commission for the 2008 assembly polls before the High which had refused an urgent hearing on the aspect that he be allowed to vote.

He argued that disqualification does not mean that he can be barred from voting. "I have the right for hearing and voting in the presidential election," Rohatgi had argued.

During the proceedings in the apex court, Rohatgi showed a communication by Bharti to the Registrar General of the High in which certain "insinuating remarks" were made against the Chief Justice of that high

He said that even an article based on the "insinuations" had appeared in a national daily levelling certain charges against the MP High Chief Justice.

Thereafter, Sibal tendered an unconditional apology on behalf of his client, Bharti.

While disqualifying Mishra from contesting elections for three years following a complaint against him, the poll panel had used some strong words against paid news, calling it a "cancerous menace" that is assuming "alarming proportions" in the electoral landscape.

His from the Datia Assembly constituency also stands void.

A full bench of the Commission, comprising then Chief Commissioner Nasim Zaidi and Commissioners A K Joti (now CEC) and O P Rawat, had in its June order indicted Mishra and unseated him under various sections of the Representation of the People Act (RPA).

Mishra, who won from Datia assembly constituency, is the minister for water resources and public relations and the chief spokesperson of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government.

Bharti, the main complainant in the case, had first sent a complaint to the EC about eight years back in 2009.

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

It had said that its findings had also strengthened the conclusion that he had "knowingly participated or took advantage of the expenditure on such advertisements" that had appeared as in the publications.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, July 12 2017. 19:48 IST