LS clears Bill to enable those in jail to contest polls
Negating a Supreme Court order, the Lok Sabha on Friday passed a Bill that effectively says that people in jail have the right to contest polls. The Representation of the People (Amendment and Validation) Bill, which was cleared by the Rajya Sabha on August 27, was piloted by Law Minister Kapil Sibal.
Talking about the apprehensions caused by the court verdict, Sibal said, "If an SHO decides to detain you on the eve of elections, then you cannot file nominations. It is our constitutional duty to correct it (the verdict)."
It took the LS only a 15-minute discussion to pass the Bill. Most members, including Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj, were inclined to pass it without discusion, while some suggested a wider debate. The Bill seeks to overturn the July 10 court order, which held that those in jail cannot vote as per the Representation of the People Act and hence cannot qualify for contesting elections. The Bill seeks to add a provison to sub-section (2) of Section 62 of the Act to state that a person cannot cease to be a voter while in detention as his or her right is only temporarily suspended.
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