The Election Commission has made it clear that since the Supreme Court has declared “persons in lawful custody — whether convicted in a criminal case or otherwise — cannot contest elections”, those in custody will be barred from contesting the August 21 bypoll from Mandya and Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha constituencies and Avanigadda Legislative Assembly segment. This will also apply to the August 22 byelection to the Karnataka Legislative Council from Mysore Local Authority constituency.

The poll notification is scheduled to be issued by the respective Governors on July 27. The nomination for the Council bypoll will open on July 29.

Informed sources in EC said the Supreme Court’s order has to be implemented as it has come from the highest court of the country.

They added that on the day of scrutiny, if the Returning Officer is satisfied that any of the nominee for the poll was found to be in legal custody, his/her papers will be rejected. If the RO has any doubt or unable to cross-check the information, he can seek the authentic information from the agency concerned and can even postpone the scrutiny of the papers of the person concerned till the RO is satisfied about the candidate’s whereabouts, sources added.

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