New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has stopped
the Election Commission from acting on a plea seeking former
Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan`s disqualification as
a state legislator for allegedly submitting wrong poll
expenditure incurred during the 2009 assembly election.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice
Sanjiv Khanna stayed the poll panel`s proceedings till its
further orders on a petition by Chavan, who contended that the
Commission was not empowered to proceed against him.
The Commission had began its proceeding against Chavan on a
plea by BJP leaders alleging that the former chief minister
has paid huge sum to various newspapers to favourably cover
his poll campaign during the 2009 assembly elections, but had
shown a meagre expenditure of Rs 11,000 for it.
The bench, which stayed the proceedings, also issued
notices to the EC and others, including BJP vice-president
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, on whose complaint the Commission had
started the proceedings against Chavan.
Others, who had approached the Commission in December 2009,
included BJP Maharashtra unit president Kirit Somaiya and
Madhav Kinhalkar, an Independent candidate, who had lost the
Bhokar Assembly seat in the 2009 assembly elections.
Chavan had challenged the EC`s order dismissing his
objection that the Commission has no jurisdiction to entertain
any complaint of this nature.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi, his counsel, submitted that the EC
on April 2 has decided to go ahead with the hearing of the
alleged paid news case relating to Chavan, rejecting his
contention that it has no power to do so.
Assailing the EC`s order which stated that it can enquire
into the case, Singhvi told the high court that the Aurangabad
bench of Bombay High Court is also adjudicating the issue on a
petition filed by Kinhalker.
Naqvi and other had approached the poll panel saying that
Chavan had paid money to some Marathi and Hindi newspapers
during the 2009 elections to write in his favour, but did not
submitted a true account of poll expenditure to the EC.
Singhvi submitted that all newspapers had denied the
allegation and replied to the Commission. Despite this the
Commission decided to proceed against his client, Singvi
contended and sought a stay on proceedings against Chavan.
After staying the poll panel, the bench adjourned the
matter for further hearing on June 1.