Khaira for denying voting rights to convicted MLAs in Presidential Election

Chandigarh: Seeking reconsideration of voting rights for Bibi Jagir Kaur, the Akali MLA from Bholath who has been convicted by a trail court and is undergoing a 5 year imprisonment sentence, former MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira has written to Election Commission by pointing out provisions of the Representation of Peoples Act (RPA) 1951.

Releasing the letter written to chief election commissioner VS Sampath to the media, Khaira mentions that the Election Commission of India has permitted Bibi Jagir Kaur to vote in the presidential election by citing section of 8(4) of the RPA, 1951.

In response Khaira cites section 11-A(1) of RPA 1951 —

Disqualification arising out of conviction and corrupt practices. If any person, after the commencement of this Act,- 3[ is convicted of an offence punishable under section 171E or section 171F of the Indian Penal Code, or under section 125 or section 135 or clause (a) of sub- section (2) of section 136 of this Act, (45 of 1860 .) 4[ 5[ he shall, for a period of six years from the date of the conviction or from the date on which the order takes effect, be disqualified for voting at any election.

— and has asked the commission to reconsider its decision of allowing a convicted legislator voting rights.

“At present appeals of those convicted for five years are being heard by the High Court for the years 2000-2002 i.e. 10 to 12 year old appeals. Going by this logic the appeal of Bibi Jagir Kaur MLA is likely to be decided not before 2022, then what bearing will the conviction have for these many years? It is as good as being exonerated,” says Khaira.

Seeking to restrain the convicted legislator from voting in the prestigious election the former MLA says, “I fail to understand the provision of Section 8(4) of the RPA, 1951 that allows a criminal to vote during the election of President on the ground that an appeal has been made by Bibi Jagir Kaur MLA in the Hon’ble High Court of Punjab and Haryana.

It would not only set a bad precedent but would also denigrate the august office of President of India, he adds.

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