Nationalist Congress Party leaders Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh may not be able to vote in the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections on June 10 despite their plea requesting permission.
On Tuesday, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) opposed to the pleas seeking permission to vote. The central agency said “prisoners do not have voting rights.”
Malik and Deshmukh had sought to be escorted to the Vidhan Sabha at their own expense for a few hours to vote in the election.
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Currently, both are in judicial custody in connection with two separate cases filed by the central agency.
“It is pertinent to mention that prisoners do not have voting rights under the Representation of the People Act, 1951. The right to vote is a statutory right created under Section 62 of the Act and the law is settled that the ‘right to vote being a statutory right is subject to the restrictions prescribed in the Act’,” the ED reply states.
On Wednesday, a special court designated to conduct matters against MP’s and MLA’s heard day-long arguments of their lawyers as well as the Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh representing the ED.
In the argument for Malik, counsel Amit Desai submitted that in 2017, Chhagan Bhujbal, who was in judicial custody in 2017, was permitted to vote in the Presidential elections.
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“He was an MLA then, why can’t the court continue its discretion,” he asked, adding that a person who has cases against him is allowed to contest elections, then why can’t he be allowed to vote?
Deshmukh’s counsel Abad Ponda argued that: “This is the case of an unconvicted undertrial.”
Deshmukh is currently in Arthur Road Jail in connection with the money laundering case filed by the ED.
Malik was arrested in February on allegations of money laundering in connection with a property in Kurla.