Any complaint relating to disqualification of the candidate had to be filed only in the appropriate court as an election petition: Abishek Singhvi

The Election Commission on Thursday completed hearing oral arguments on the ‘paid news case' relating to the former Maharashtra Chief Minister, Ashok Chavan.

Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi and Election Commissioners V.S. Sampath and Harishankar Brahma who heard the argument of Abishek Singhvi, counsel for Mr. Chavan, at the Nirvachan Sadan here, granted a week to all the parties to give their views, if any, in writing. The written submission would again be circulated to the opposite parties for their opinion, and another seven days time would be given for this.

Sources in the Commission said it was likely to decide on the case in a couple of months. “Since it is the first case relating to paid news, we want to tread carefully, and any decision of the Commission would become a precedent. Moreover, the affected parties might also approach courts which would bring the Commission's verdict under judicial review.”

Earlier, Mr. Singhvi, in his argument, wanted the Commission to dismiss the complaint as “non-maintainable” as it had no jurisdiction to hear it. Any complaint on disqualification of the candidate had to be filed only in the appropriate court as an election petition.

BJP national secretary Kirti Somaiya, one of the complainants, said he would continue to fight till the case reached its logical end.

The complaint against Mr. Chavan was that he paid money to some Marathi and Hindi newspapers during the October 13, 2009, Maharashtra Assembly elections to write in his favour. He did not account properly in his expenditure return the money paid to the newspapers for such advertisements which were masqueraded as news items.

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