Plea seeking voting rights for prisoners dismissedUpdated: Feb 13, 2020 00:02 IST
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has dismissed a plea which had sought voting rights for the prisoners lodged in jail, stating that the facility was provided under the law and it can only be taken away by law.
A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said the Supreme Court has held that the right to cast vote was neither a fundamental right nor a common law right and was only provided by a statute.
The court also said that the right to vote provided under the statute - Representation of the People Act - was subject to restrictions imposed by the law, which does not allow prisoners to cast vote from jails. The high court said in view of the apex court rulings and the statutory position, it sees no reason to entertain the plea, and dismissed it.
The court’s order came on a plea by three law students who had sought voting rights for all persons lodged in jails across the country.
The Election Commission had opposed the plea, saying prisoners do not have voting rights under the Act and it has been upheld by the Supreme Court. It referred to a 1997 judgment of the Supreme Court, which held that any person confined in prison while serving a sentence or is in lawful confinement in a prison or in police custody for any reason is not entitled to vote in an election.