NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Monday refused to hear eleventh-hour pleas from former Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) Ministers Anil Deshmukh and Nabab Malikboth in custody for money laundering, get out of jail and vote Maharashtra Legislative Council Elections.
A vacation bench of Justices CT Ravikumar and Sudhanshu Dhulia agreed with Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that Section 65(2) of the Representation of the People Act prohibits anyone in prison from voting in any election, at the exception of those who are kept behind bars in preventive detention.
The bench said: “The provision of the RP Act makes no distinction between ordinary imprisoned citizens and imprisoned representatives of the people. Parliament, in its wisdom, has made no exception to this complete prohibition.”
But the court agreed to the request of lead lawyer Meenakshi Arora, who appeared for the two former ministers, and said the SC would consider whether an exception could be made by judicial interpretation to allow jailed MPs and MPs to vote in elections to Rajya Sabha and the Legislative Assembly. Tips.
Arora argued that denying the two incumbent MPs the exercise of their constitutional right to vote would be tantamount to denying people in their constituency a voice in the election of members of the Legislative Council. The bench said: ‘If that is the argument, then it should not be kept inside the jail at all because the people of their constituencies are deprived of their voice on the floor of the assembly.’
Hearing the urgent call for nearly two hours from 2 p.m. when voting was due to end at 4 p.m. Monday, Arora said the two were being deliberately detained for political reasons. Calling her arguments far-fetched, Mehta said Deshmukh was arrested in November last year and Malik in March this year, well before the announcement of the Legislative Council elections was issued.
The bench said it was rejecting the request for interim relief (permission to get out of jail and vote). But he issued an advisory to State and Union Governments on the issue of allowing MPs and imprisoned MPs to vote in Rajya Sabha and MLC elections.
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