The Bombay High Court today dismissed Maharashtra Minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik's petition seeking release from jail here to enable him to cast his vote in the Rajya Sabha elections, polling for which is underway.

Malik had sought that he be either released from custody on a bond or be permitted to go with a police escort to the Vidhan Bhavan for voting.

A Single Bench presided over by Justice P D Naik said that although Malik had avoided the use of the word 'bail' the tenor of his plea was that of seeking bail and therefore, he must file an appeal challenging the special court that denied him temporary bail on Thursday.

The High Court said it didn't wish to set a wrong precedent by entertaining Malik's plea, and permitted the Minister's Counsel Senior Advocate Amit Desai to amend the plea and seek appropriate relief.

Malik had mentioned his plea seeking an urgent hearing in the High Court after a Special Court rejected on Thursday his plea seeking that he either be released on temporary bail for a day or that he be permitted to go with an escort to cast his vote.

He then moved the High Court seeking that he either be released on a bond or surety just for casting his vote, or he be accompanied by a police escort.

Today, Desai said that Malik was giving up his prayer for even the surety or bond and just pressing for escort to exercise his "constitutional right" and uphold "democratic principles."

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, who appeared for the Enforcement Directorate (ED), opposed Malik's plea saying it was not maintainable.

Justice Naik said, "From the tenor of the petition, the minister is here is for releasing him from prison. A bond can only be a bail bond under section 439 of the CrPC."

"He should have moved an application before an appropriate Court," the Bench said.

Voting for six Rajya Sabha seats in Maharashtra began at 9 am at the state legislature complex. In this election, every vote is crucial for the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), of which the NCP is a constituent, to get the Sena's second candidate, Sanjay Pawar, elected.

With PTI inputs