Tihar inmates will be unable to cast their votes
As in every election, thousands of Tihar jail inmates will be unable to participate in Lok Sabha polls slated for on May 7 in the city after NHRC suggestions to give them voting rights are yet to find favour with the government.
"As per law, prisoners can fight elections but cannot vote. Hence, there is no question of allowing them to cast their votes in person or through ballot papers," Tihar jail spokesman Sunil Gupta said.
Of a total of 12,000 prisoners lodged in Tihar jail, at least 65 per cent of them have their names listed in the Delhi electoral rolls.
Only those who are detained under the Prevention Act can participate in the electoral process through ballot papers. Currently, there are around 13 inmates who are detained under the Act.
However, for unknown reasons, Tihar authorities have not requested postal ballot for them.
"We have not received any request for them for any postal ballot," Deputy Chief Electoral officer J K Sharma said.
Taking up the case of the undertrials' voting rights, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has recommended that government should allow the undertrials to vote in the elections and the maximum period of detention per person be reduced to six months.
In its draft recommendations on detention, the NHRC said the provision of the right to vote "should be ensured to the undertrials".
"An undertrial in custody or who is not on bail can contest an election but does not have the right to vote. The provision of the right to vote should be ensured to the undertrials.
"It will have a positive impact in bringing out changes in the attitude of the undertrials and the common people," the recommendations said, adding, "The undertrials will then be considered a part of society."
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