New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed a plea filed by Madhya Pradesh Cabinet Minister Narottam Mishra, challenging his disqualification by the Election Commission (EC).
With the BJP leader failing to get relief from the high court, it is unlikely that he will be participating in the upcoming presidential poll.
Justice Indermeet Kaur, who reserved the judgement on Thursday, dismissed Mishra’s plea.
The Election Commission had on June 23 disqualified Mishra for not disclosing expenses he incurred on paid news in his election expenditure returns and barred 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 the July 17 presidential election.
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.
Narottam is Parliamentary Affairs Minister and the assembly session is starting from July 17 and voting for the Presidential election is also on the same day.
The Election Commission, while disqualifying Mishra for not disclosing the expenditure he had incurred on the paid news that was carried 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 had said that all the 42 news items that had appeared in five Hindi dailies were “extremely biased in favour of” Mishra.
This phenomenon, a manifestation of the “pernicious effect of money in elections”, has been growing increasingly vicious and “spreading like cancer” in recent times, the EC had said.
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.