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Supreme Court: Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh not to vote; law on rights of imprisoned MLAs to vote to be examined

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The Maharashtra cabinet minister Nawab Malik and former State home minister Anil Deshmukh, who were seeking temporary release from jail for a day to cast vote in the upcoming Maharashtra Member of Legislative Council have been refused by the Supreme Court on Monday.

The ministers were refused interim relief to vote in elections. The court had agreed to take up the application filed by former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and Minority Minister Nawab Malik challenging the Bombay High Court order, which refused them permission for temporary release to cast their votes in the Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) elections, which are underway today.

The two-Judge Vacation Bench of Justice of CT Ravikumar and Sudhanshu Dhulia observed that in respect to the matters listed during the vacation, there is circular and the matter has to go before the Chief Justice of India.

The bench agreed that the petition raises a pertinent question in relation to the right of a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) to vote of Legislative Council elections on behalf of his constituency.

Section 62(5) of the Representation of People Act bars prisoners from voting.

Justice Dhulia said It is being argued that he is an elected representative by others who will elect someone else. This representation is for lakhs of people. Such distinction has not been decided, so we will look into this.”

Justice Ravikumar said that a deeper consideration,” is needed to think on this question.

Justice Dhulia said that “A person has been elected but he cannot vote. It is slightly undemocratic. We have not made up our mind. But it is slightly undemocratic.”

Hence, it proceeded to issue notice but refused to pass any interim order.

“The arguments reveal that on interpretation of Section 62(5) there is conflict of views. Thus we will have detailed hearing on it. But no interim relief to be granted,” the Court said in its order.

The Court opined that it cannot grant relief at this eleventh hour but agreed to examine the law.

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