HC sets aside EC’s order disqualifying MP minister

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday set aside the Election Commission’s notification disqualifying BJP’s Narottam Mishra for three years for filing wrong accounts of election expenditure during the 2008 Madhya Pradesh assembly elections.

A division bench of Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice Sunil Gaur said that it has not found anything conclusive against the Madhya Pradesh Minister to prove that the articles and advertorials in the media were paid.

The bench was hearing an appeal by the Bharatiya Janata Party leader challenging the July 14, 2017, order of a single Judge bench of the High Court, which had upheld the EC’s decision to disqualify Mishra.

The EC’s order in 2017 to disqualify Mishra came on a complaint by Congress legislator Rajender Bharti in 2009.

Mishra had contested the EC decision on the grounds of inordinate delay in the matter and alleged lack of evidence that he authorised paid news articles.

The matter had reached the High Court after the Supreme Court on July 12 last year transferred the case to it for an expeditious decision before the July 17, 2017 presidential polls.

Mishra had sought an interim stay on the single Judge’s order that upheld the EC’s order as a last-ditch attempt to vote in the presidential election. He, however, could not cast his ballot.