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Updated: September 7, 2013 02:36 IST

Parliament passes bill to allow those in jail to contest polls

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The Hindu

Negating a Supreme Court order, Parliament on Friday passed a bill that maintains the right of those in jail to contest polls, with the government saying the court verdict was wrong and the Legislature has Constitutional duty to correct it.

The Representation of the People (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2013 was rushed through in the Lok Sabha and passed within about 15 minutes after a brief discussion.

Some members wanted an elaborate debate on the bill but the overwhelming majority of the House, including Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, pushed for its passage even without discussion.

The Bill negates the July 10 order of the Supreme Court which held that those in jail cannot vote as per RP Act and hence cannot qualify for contesting elections to Parliament or state legislatures.

The Bill was passed by Rajya Sabha on August 27.

Moving the bill for consideration and passage, Law Minister Kapil Sibal said, “The Supreme Court is right because it is final, it is not right because it is right.”

Talking about the apprehensions caused by the apex court verdict, he said, “If an SHO decides to detain you on the eve of elections, then you cannot file nominations.”

He said, “It is our constitutional duty to correct it (the verdict).”

Mr. Sibal’s views were on the lines of some of the members, including Kirti Azad (BJP) and Dara Singh Chouhan (BSP).

The Amendment Bill seeks to add a proviso to sub-section (2) of section 62 of the RP Act to state that a person cannot cease to be a voter while in detention as his or her right is only temporarily suspended.

One of the amendments states that as the name of the jailed person continues to be on the electoral rolls, he or she also continues to be an elector and can file nomination for an election.

“Provided further that by reason of the prohibition to vote under this sub-section, a person whose name has been entered in the electoral roll shall not cease to be an elector,” the proviso reads.

The amendment shall come into effect from July 10, 2013, the day the Supreme Court gave the judgement.

After examining the Supreme Court order, government had filed a review petition, but instead of waiting for the outcome, it felt the need to “suitably” address the situation, the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill states.

The apex court had on Wednesday agreed to review the judgement.

In its verdict the apex court had 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 had, however, made it clear that disqualification would not be applicable to persons subjected to preventive detention under any law.

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Now we can say proudly that our
democracy is "of the criminal by
the criminal for the criminal.
What a mockery of the system

from:  skg
Posted on: Sep 9, 2013 at 01:54 IST

oh!! the clarity when it comes to negate the laws in favour of criminal-
less parliament.....but the confusion when it comes to lokpal bill....

Posted on: Sep 7, 2013 at 20:12 IST

Passage of such a climactic bill in the parliament without debate is
very shocking. All the parties walk hand in hand when it comes on
defending rapists, killers, mobs. On the other hand, they seem very
reluctant to the passage of citizen's ombudsman bill because they
apprehend the consequences. When an innocent girl is raped, these
politicians announce compensation to the victim’s family to heal the
sorrow, but their intention behind this is categorically different
from what we think. They see such a sensitive matter as an
opportunity to transform people’s sympathy into vote. Unfortunately,
if the brunt of this falls on their own families will they also relish
the compensation give to them?

from:  Dharmendra Shukla
Posted on: Sep 7, 2013 at 11:17 IST

Good luck to common man who is prisoner to the culprits in power.

from:  j.Venkataramana
Posted on: Sep 7, 2013 at 11:13 IST

the govt yet again bent the laws of the system and make it fruitfull for itself.So many laws and amendments have been recently made ,most of which are the basis for the 2014 electoral campaign,but regarding this one I thought finally a law's been implemented which will stop the goons from coming into power and the govt really "IS" doing something for the betterment of the people.But how come I forget the basic agenda of this govt of "self benfit only",as a result of which my abhorence towards the govt increased only.

from:  Siddharth
Posted on: Sep 7, 2013 at 10:29 IST

How I wish the lok pal and food security bills were passed in 15 mins!

from:  Ap
Posted on: Sep 7, 2013 at 10:22 IST
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