HC debars prisoners from poll fray
The Patna High Court directed the Election Commission to consider countermanding polls in constituencies where prisoners are in fray.
The Patna High Court on Friday directed the Election Commission (EC) to consider countermanding elections in constituencies where persons who were in prison and had been disenfranchised were contesting the Lok Sabha elections.
The verdict could affect five jailed politicians — RJD's Mohammed Shahabuddin (Siwan), Lok Janshakti Party's Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav (Purnea), independent MLA Rajan Tiwary (Motihari), Ranvir Sena chief Brahmeshwar Singh (Ara) and Suman Kumar Singh alias Ranjit Don (Begusarai).
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Ravi S. Dhavan and Justice Shashank Kumar Singh passed the order in response to two PILs — filed by NGO Jan Chaukidar and the JD(U) candidate from Siwan, Om Prakash Yadav — seeking disqualification of those who were contesting from jail.
"The EC should act and act with speed before the declaration of results, otherwise … illegalities will have been committed," the court said.
The judges noted that there was sufficient material on record to suggest that the "administration of the state has tacitly connived and abetted the situation" by allowing candidates to hold conferences while in custody, enjoy luxuries in public hospitals and participate in electoral politics.
The court held the Bihar director-general of police responsible for allowing "a mockery to be made of the election process, the rule of law and the courts", by letting absconders from the law to cast their votes.