Election Commission order against MP Minister: Supreme Court refers matter to Delhi High Court
New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India today considered the issue whether senior Madhya Pradesh Minister Dr. Narottam Mishra continues to be a member of the Legislative Assembly of the State of Madhya Pradesh, and hence can vote in the presidential election scheduled for 17 July 2017 and passed an order that the matter can only be determined after the challenge raised to the order passed by the Election Commission of India, on 23 June 2017, is suitably addressed by the High Court, finally or by an interim order as the High Court may consider appropriate.
A two judge Bench of the Supreme Court, comprising the Chief Justice of India Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud, said in its order that it would be just and appropriate to direct learned counsel for the rival parties to appear before the Acting Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, during the course of the day, and present to the High Court the entire paperbook of Writ Petition No.9704/2017 filed before the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
Liberty has also been granted by the Supreme Court to the counsel to request the Acting Chief Justice of Delhi HIgh Court, on behalf of the Supreme Court, to constitute a Bench for hearing Writ Petition No.9704/2017, and that the hearing should commence on 13 July 2017, to suitably address the issue, even if it entails the continuation of hearing during the week-end.
The Supreme Court order came in response to special leave petition [SLP(C)No.17608/2017 (Dr.Narottam Mishra vs. Rajendra Bharti and others), and Transfer Petition [(C)D.No.20213 of 2017 (Rajendra Bharti & Ors. vs.Dr.Narottam Mishra & Ors.)].
During the course of hearing, Mukul Rohatgi, senior counsel, invited the attention of the Supreme Court Bench to Annexure P-13 (appended to the special leave petition), which is a communication addressed by the respondent – Rajendra Bharti, to the Registrar General of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
Kapil Sibal, the senior counsel representing the respondent Rajendra Bharti submitted, that the communication (Annexure P-13) be treated as having been withdrawn. He also tendered an unconditional apology with reference to the insinuations leveled therein, on behalf of the respondent
After making their submissions, the counsel for the rival parties agreed that the proceedings in Writ Petition 9704 of 2017 filed before the High Court of Madhya Pradesh (Principal seat at Jabalpur) be transferred, for hearing and disposal on merits, to the High Court of Delhi.
Amit Sharma, counsel, appeared on behalf of the Election Commission of India. He undertook that he will appear before the Delhi High Court in compliance with the directions issued by the Supreme Court, to represent the Election Commission of India.