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Supreme Court issues notice to Centre on barring jailbirds from elections

Friday, 4 April 2014 - 4:16pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: PTI
Amendment in law allowing jailbirds to contest elections came under the scrutiny of the Supreme Court which issued notice to Centre on a petition challenging its constitutional validity.

Amendment in law allowing jailbirds to contest elections came under the scrutiny of the Supreme Court which issued notice to Centre on a petition challenging its constitutional validity.

Agreeing to hear the plea, a bench headed by Justice H L Dattu sought response on the petition challenging the validity of the amendment in Representation of People (RP) Act which was brought in after the apex court had restrained people behind the bars to contest election.

Advocate M L Sharma, who filed the petition, also sought stay on the operation of the amendment.

The Supreme Court has already upheld that section62(5) is constitutional & in the interest of the general public but impugned amendment is contra to the interest of the general public," he said.

"In the absence of stay upon impugned amendment several criminal will contest election and due to money and gun power will enter in Parliament/legislative Assembly which is liable to be stopped in the interest of the country ," the petition said.

He moved the apex court challenging Delhi High Court's order which had on February 6 upheld the law allowing jailbirds, except convicts, to contest elections.

"Extending curtailment of the right to vote of a person in prison to the right to stand in election would, in our opinion, leave the door open for practice of 'vendetta politics' by ruling parties.

"All that a politician/ruling party-in-power would need to do to prevent rivals from contesting an election is to ask the police to file a case and to arrest the rivals," it had said.

The Supreme Court had on July 10 last year ruled that a person, who is in jail or in police custody, cannot contest election to legislative bodies.

The apex court ruled that only an "elector" can contest the polls and he/she ceases to have the right to cast vote due to confinement in prison or being in custody of police.

Soon after the judgement was delivered, Amendment and Validation Act, 2013, was brought in which modified Representation of People (RP) Act to enable arrested persons to contest elections. 


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