Bhopal: The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Wednesday reserved its order on a petition by Water Resources, Public Relations and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narottam Mishra challenging the disqualification of his election by the Election Commission of India (ECI). Earlier, Mishra defended himself in the Gwalior Bench of the Court today in view of the strike by lawyers. Though his advocates arrived in the court premises, other agitating lawyers prevented them from entering into the Court. Congress leader Rajendra Bharti, who had filed a petition against the Minister, also presented his case himself. Meanwhile, ECI officials furnished their reply in the matter. After hearing all the parties concerned, the Court reserved its order.

Hearing a petition filed by Bharti in 2009, the ECI ordered Mishra’s disqualification on June 24 for three years for submitting wrong details of his poll expenditure during the 2008 Assembly election in the state. His election from the Datia constituency was also declared void. Mishra had moved the High Court against the decision on June 27. The legal and constitutional experts are divided over the issue. A section of them believe that Mishra has been disqualified and he should step down without delay, while the other believes that Mishra has only been disqualified to contest election for three years and his being on the post of minister and his election as an MLA is not under scanner.