Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra got a taste of law on Tuesday when her secretary Chand Mishra was arrested by police for rushing into the polling booth to give water to the parched star and her family standing in a long queue, reports Mumbai Mirror.
Priyanka always moves with her entourage of secretaries, bodyguards and PR assistants, even if it means a trip to the polling booth to cast her vote.
On Tuesday morning her secretary Chand Mishra was arrested from the polling booth for misconduct because he rushed inside, illegally, as it transpired, to offer the star and her family some water.
The Chopra family had been standing in queue for a while when Priyanka's mother began to feel unwell, which is when the star asked her secretary to fetch some water.
According to Farogh Mukadam, Returning Officer for 164-Versova Assembly Constituency, only if a voter is physically handicapped or needs support can an attendant accompany him or her into a polling booth otherwise it is a violation of law.
According to the complainant constable Vilas Baraskar of Versova police station, who was on poll duty – Priyanka had reached the Children Welfare Centre High School booth at around 11 am. After a while, Mishra tried to follow her in, telling the cops that Priyanka needed water. However, a constable stopped him. But a few minutes later Mishra, disregarding the cop's advice, actually rushed into the booth with water, raising alarm.
“We have booked Chand Mishra under Section 132 (1) (3) of Representation of the People's Act (See box). First of all, he is a resident of Borivli, so he is not authorised to enter a polling booth where he cannot vote. We are investigating why he tried to enter the booth,” said DCP (Zone IX) KMM Prasanna.
The actor's spokesperson Natasha termed the arrest as harassment. “It's evening and he's still there,” she said. “Evidently, it is against the law to be within 200 yards of a polling booth without a voter's card, and Mishra didn't have his,” the spokesperson clarified.
“Priyanka had gone to vote with her brother and parents, and had to wait in a long queue for more than 45 minutes because the voting machine had conked off. Her mother felt thirsty, and so she asked Mishra to come in with a glass of water,” she added.
Mishra was eventually let off on bail.
The election law is very clear: “Any person who during the hours fixed for poll at any polling station fails to obey the lawful directions of the presiding officer may be removed from the place by the officer or any person authorised by him/her or by any police officer on duty.
“ If any person who has been so removed from a polling station re-enters the polling station without the permission of the presiding officer, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine, or with both”.