Supreme Court Rejects Jailed Maharashtra Leaders’ Plea To Vote

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The Supreme Court Monday declined the plea of Nationalist Congress Party leaders and MLAs Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh seeking temporary release from prison to cast their votes in the Maharashtra Legislative Council election, which is underway.
However, a vacation bench of Justices C T Ravikumar and Sudhanshu Dhulia agreed to examine the issue relating to the interpretation of Section 62(5) of the Representation of the People Act 1951, which bars jailed persons from voting.

Maharashtra ex-home minister Anil Deshmukh and cabinet minister Nawab Malik approached the Supreme Court challenging the Bombay High Court order rejecting their pleas to vote at the Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) polls that is taking place today.

Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora appearing for ministers mentioned the matter before a bench of Justices CT Ravikumar and Sudhanshu Dhulia and sought an urgent hearing of the case today itself.

The bench said files of the case will be placed before Chief Justice NV Ramana who will decide when the case will be heard and said it will inform by 12 noon.

They sought direction to allow their temporary release to cast his vote using police escorts.

Earlier, a special PMLA court in Mumbai rejected the pleas filed by Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh seeking a day’s bail to vote in the Rajya Sabha elections.

The two Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLAs Mr Malik and Mr Deshmukh are presently incarcerated as undertrial prisoners in separate money laundering cases being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate.

Mr Deshmukh was arrested on November 1, 2021, in connection with extortion and money laundering allegations levelled against him by the former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.

The ED had arrested Minorities Development Minister Mr Malik on February 23 over a property deal allegedly linked to the aides of gangster Dawood Ibrahim. Mr Malik is presently in a hospital, albeit under Judicial custody.

The trial court had earlier denied Mr Malik and Mr Deshmukh permission to vote for the June 10 Rajya Sabha elections citing section 62(5) of the Representation of People’s Act to say they are not permitted to vote since they are in prison.

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been moved in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Maharashtra government to sack cabinet minister Nawab Malik, who is presently in judicial custody in connection with the case of money laundering.

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