Published: Tue, July 18, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Madhya Pradesh Minister Disqualified for Paid News Cannot Vote for President

Madhya Pradesh Minister Disqualified for Paid News Cannot Vote for President

A division bench of Justice Murlidhar and Justice Pratibha Singh while refusing to put a stay on the single bench order said that there was no urgency to listen to the matter.

Madhya Pradesh minister Narottam Mishra.

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 attendant consequences of the disqualification under section 10A of the Representation of People's Act (RPA) would follow".

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On the eve of the presidential elections, the Delhi High Court, in a special hearing on Sunday, refused to allow BJP MP Narottam Mishra to vote. He also said that the decision of the ECI would not affect the present tenure of Mishra.

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 EC holding that there was an implied authorisation by the petitioner (Mishra) to publish these news items was thus a fair finding", the judge said in her 36-page verdict.

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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 ECI found Mishra guilty on charges of misreporting election expenditure and paying news channels to broadcast biased news ahead of the 2008 Assembly election in Datia constituency.

The EC order had come on a complaint by Congress leader Rajendra Bharti, who had contested the polls against Mishra in the 2008 assembly elections.

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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. Appearing for Mishra, his counsel Dhruv Mehta said that there was no evidence produced to prove that his client had authorised the paid news articles.

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