SC stays Patna HC order on jailbirds

The SC has stayed Patna HC order directing the EC to countermand polls at constituencies from where prisoners are contesting.
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Published on May 06, 2004 07:58 PM IST
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PTI | ByPress Trust of India, New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed a Patna High Court order directing the Election Commission to countermand polls at constituencies contested by persons who are in jail as undertrials and do have not right to vote.

Admitting an appeal filed by the Election Commission, a three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice S Rajendra Babu said, "when the elections have reached the last stage, the directions of the High Court are not practicably implementable."

However, the Court kept open the question of 'whether an under trial prisoner, who has no right to vote, could contest an election' for future consideration by the apex court.

The Patna High Court had directed the Election Commission to consider countermanding elections in constituencies contested by prisoners, whose voting right have been suspended under the election laws.

The main objection of the EC to the April 30 order of the High Court was that under Article 329(B) of the Constitution, the courts were specifically barred from interfering in the election process once it was set rolling till its conclusion.

The High Court had also ordered the Commission to consider countermanding elections in the constituencies where proclaimed absconders had cast their vote.

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