A special court on Wednesday reserved its order in pleas filed by the Nationalist Congress Party leaders and Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Nawab Malik and former Home Minister of Maharashtra Anil Deshmukh from jail seeking bail for one day to cast their vote in the Rajya Sabha elections on June 10.
Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh have been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on charges of money laundering and are both lodged at the Arthur Road Jail.
Senior advocate Amit Desai appearing for Mr. Malik argued that as a sitting Member of Legislative Assembly it is his duty to vote and said there cannot be a preventive detention for a person prohibiting him from exercising a constitutional right to vote, that is illegal. He added, disqualification from voting arises if a convict comes to court, Mr. Malik is an undertrial.
Senior advocate Aabad Ponda representing Mr. Deshmukh contended, a person who has criminal antecedents is permitted to stand for election which is on a higher footing, but is not permitted to go an cast vote.
The ED's counsel Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh said right to vote is not a fundamental right but a statutory right. He pointed out that section 62 (5) of The Representation of the People Act states, '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.' Even if the person is an undertrial this section is applicable to them and they cannot vote.
Special judge R.N. Rokade heard the arguments for close to five hours and then reserved the order.
Mr. Malik was arrested on February 24 this year and Mr. Deshmukh was arrested on November 2, 2021.