HC seeks reply from ECI on its order

Gwalior: The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Friday sought the Election Commission’s stand on a plea against the poll panel’s order disqualifying State Minister Narottam Mishra. Notably, Mishra was disqualified by the poll watchdog on June 24 for three years for filing wrong accounts of his election expenditure during the assembly polls of 2008. With this, his election from the Datia assembly constituency also stood void. Three days later, Mishra moved the Gwalior bench of the high court seeking a stay on the EC order. The bench of Justice Vivek Agrawal on Friday issued notice to the poll panel seeking its reply to Mishra’s plea by July 5, EC’s lawyer D K Khatri told. “We urged the court to grant time for filing a reply on the matter, following which the bench asked us to file it by July 5,” he said. Mishra filed a plea in the high court seeking a stay on the EC order as well as its quashing, his lawyer M P S Raghuwanshi said.

Rajendra Bharti of the Congress, who lost the 2008 MP assembly polls from Datia constituency to Mishra, a close aide of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, had moved the EC against the minister on April 4, 2009, seeking his disqualification under the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

Mishra, the water resources and legislative affairs minister in the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, had filed a writ petition before the Gwalior bench seeking relief against the EC order. Advocate JP Dhanopia, who is also Congress spokesman said, Mishra has no right to remain in the Cabinet. As soon as the Election Commission passes an order under section 10A of the Representation of the People Act 1951, the seat of sitting MP/MLA becomes vacant forthwith on that very day, by operation of law.”