- Poll Body has removed Kamal Nath as star campaigner for Madhya bypolls
- He has been accused of making a series of controversial comments
- Mr Nath repeatedly "breached ethical and dignified behaviour", it said
The Election Commission's order removing Congress's Kamal Nath as the star campaigner for the by-elections in Madhya Pradesh has been put on hold by the Supreme Court. "We are staying the Election Commission's order and the EC has no power," said Chief Justice of India SA Bobde.
"Who has given power to you (the Election Commission) to remove a candidate from the star campaigner list? It is you or a leader of the party?" Chief Justice Bobde said while hearing a petition filed by the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister.
"Where do you get the power to determine who will be the leader of a political party? It is for you or the party to decide who is the star campaigner?" he added.
The Election Commission said it would file a response at the earliest. "The Supreme Court is supreme. The EC has been given an opportunity to file a reply in the matter, which shall be filed at the earliest," the commission said.
On October 30, the Election Commission stripped Kamal Nath of his star campaigner status over a series of his controversial remarks, which, the commission said, were "repeated violation of model code of conduct" and "complete disregard" of warnings to him.
Kamal Nath, being a leader of a political party, had repeatedly "breached ethical and dignified behaviour", the commission said in its order.
Earlier, the Commission had issued a warning to the 73-year-old over his "item" remark for BJP leader Imarti Devi.
While campaigning in Dabra last month, Mr Nath had mocked Imarti Devi -- a former Congress leader whose exit along with 22 loyalists of Jyotiraditya Scindia in March had led to the collapse of his government.
During a poll meeting, Mr Nath had said the Congress candidate was a "simple person" unlike his rival, who was an "item".
The poll panel had warned him against the use of "such words or statements" when the model code of conduct was in place.
But subsequently, Mr Nath was accused of making another provocative comment, calling Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan a "nautanki kalakar who should act in films in Mumbai".
On October 31, Mr Nath had challenged the Commission's order in the top court, saying, "It is right of the party to nominate a person as a star campaigner and the Election Commission cannot interfere with the party decision. The decision is a breach of the fundamental right of expression and movement".