Prisoners voting rights: The Top Court orders notice to Union

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The Apex Court today questioned the union to answer a PIL questioning the acceptance of a section of the Representation of People Act that restricts prisoners from casting a vote.

The petitioner, Aditya Prasanna Bhattacharya, has contended that the phrasing of Section 62(5) of the Act used confinement as a yardstick to deprive prisoners from casting their votes. The section deprives somebody confined to a jail of the correct to choose any election.

The PIL argues that additionally to convicts sentenced to imprisonment, even under-trials whose innocence or guilt had not been once and for all determined were denied the correct to vote as they were additionally "confined" in jail.

However, a convict jailed as a part of the sentence will still solidify a vote if free on bail per se an individual isn't in and of itself "confined" in jail, the plea declared. An individual detained in civil jail is additionally entitled to vote as a result of the excessively broad language within the provision, that uses "confinement" within the context of "sentence of imprisonment...or otherwise", the petition aforesaid.

It argued that the availability operated as a blanket ban, because it lacked any quite affordable classification that supported the character of the crime committed or the length of the sentence.

This lack of classification is anathema to the elemental right to equality beneath Article fourteen, the petitioner argued.

A bench comprising justice UU Lalit and Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Hima Kohli issued notice on the PIL and announce the matter for hearing on December twenty-nine.