National / World

Persons can't fight polls for legislative bodies from jail: SC

New Delhi, Jul 11 (PTI): A person, who is in jail or in police custody, cannot contest election to legislative bodies, the Supreme Court has held, bringing to an end an era of undertrial politicians fighting polls from behind bars.

In another pathbreaking verdict to prevent criminal elements from entering Parliament and state assemblies, the apex court ruled that only an "elector" can contest the polls and he/she ceases the right to cast vote due to confinement in prison or being in custody of police.

The court, however, made it clear that disqualification would not be applicable to person subjected to preventive detention under any law.

Referring to the Representation of Peoples' Act, a bench of justices A K Patnaik and S J Mukhopadhayay said that the Act (Section 4 & 5)lays down the qualifications for membership of the House of the People and Legislative Assembly and one of the qualifications laid down is that he must be an elector.

The bench said Section 62(5) of the Act says that no person shall vote at any election if he is confined in a prison, whether under a sentence of imprisonment or transportation or otherwise, or is in the lawful custody of the police.

Reading Sections 4, 5 and 62(5) together, the apex court came to the conclusion that a person in jail or police custody cannot contest election.

The court passed the order on a appeal filed by the Chief Election Commissioner and others challenging a Patna High Court order barring people in police custody to contest polls.

"We do not find any infirmity in the findings of the High Court in the impugned common order that a person who has no right to vote by virtue of the provisions of sub-section (5) of Section 62 of the 1951 Act is not an elector and is therefore not qualified to contest the election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of a State," the apex court said.

In a landmark judgement on Wednesday, the same bench had struck down a provision in the the Representation of Peoples Act that protects a convicted lawmaker from disqualification on the ground of pendency of appeal in higher courts.

The bench had also made it clear that MPs, MLAs and MLCs would stand disqualified on the date of conviction.

Legal experts said the two verdicts will force political parties to make sure that candidates facing criminal charges are not fielded.

The court had in its yesterday's judgement held that Parliament exceeded its powers by enacting the provision (Section 8(4) of the Representation of Peoples Act) that gives a convicted lawmaker the power to remain in office on the ground that appeals have been filed and pending.

The sub-section 8(4), which was struck down, said a lawmaker cannot be disqualified for three months from the conviction and if in that period he or she files an appeal against till its disposal by a higher court.

Comment on this article

  • Ahmed, Qatar/Mangalore

    Fri, Jul 12 2013


    DisAgree [1] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sunil S, Udupi

    Fri, Jul 12 2013

    Bad news for congress.
    More than 50% MLAs & MPs from congress party having criminal background.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • stan, dubai

    Fri, Jul 12 2013

    Out of 4,835 members of Parliament, state legislative assemblies and state legislative councils, 1,448 are accused in criminal cases. These include 162 out of 543 members of the Lok Sabha. The lawmakers are accused of crimes like rape, murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, robbery, extortion, etc The court ruling may hurt politicians from all political parties hard. According to studies nearly 31 per cent of Indian lawmakers have criminal cases pending against them. So don’t tell only one party . There are 25 from BJP and 13 from Congress.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • J N Lobo, Mumbai

    Fri, Jul 12 2013

    31% (but Hindustan Times says 38%)of criminal MPs and Legislators are from BJP. And 21% are from Congress.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Amin Bhoja, Patte / Riyadh

    Fri, Jul 12 2013

    It is a good news and relief to the public voter, politicians with criminal background are for a permanent rest.Thanks.

    DisAgree Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Manda Budhi, Kudla

    Fri, Jul 12 2013

    ಅಂಚಾಂಡ ನಮ್ಮ ಬರಿತ ಇಲ್ಲದ ಜಗ್ಗನ್ನನ ಕತೆ ಮುಗಿ ಲೆಕ್ಕನೆ.........

    DisAgree [1] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • KRPrabhu, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Fri, Jul 12 2013

    Yerye au? Battry shell paded gagasara beypavodu itter ?Areg hushaarittiga?

    DisAgree [2] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Fri, Jul 12 2013

    Why Manda Budhi in English.....

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rajesh Shetty, Mlore-Shj

    Fri, Jul 12 2013

    Decision in the Eve of Andhra Elections, any surprise!!!

    DisAgree [2] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Valerian Dsouza, Udupi/Mumbai

    Thu, Jul 11 2013

    Supreme Court's directive is in the interest of people and of the nation.
    Some time, Courts can't convict some without evidence against them.
    Some masterminds are having mass appeal and are expert manipulators to get nailed by Courts!
    Law enforcers face lot of difficulties to take action on them for repercussions.
    In such situation, only people can make Courts intention successful, by voting against candidate fielded by criminal masterminds!

    DisAgree [1] Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • Frank Lewis , Kallianpur/Dubai

    Thu, Jul 11 2013

    Good Bye Jagan, your arrogance ruined your carrier. Reddy brothers good bye. Good decision.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ralph Pinto, Mangalore

    Thu, Jul 11 2013

    I totally agree with Jossey Saldanha. Criminals should be out of contest.

    We borrowed this system into our constitution because of the British. Not that the British were SAINTS ! They were bigger crooks than the native INDIANS, those days. The ones who formulated our Constitution had a lot of British social influence incl. their colour and style !

    DisAgree Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Thu, Jul 11 2013

    His family members too should not be allowed to contest.........

    DisAgree [3] Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse


    Thu, Jul 11 2013

    The SC would have made a rule Even anyone is on bail also Can't fight polls until he clears his case. The reason so many murderers, corrupt,Rape,Sodomy cases are in Bail and will stand for polls.

    DisAgree Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

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