The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a petition challenging a provision in the election law that bars persons facing trial while in custody from casting their votes, Bar and Bench reported.
A bench of Chief Justice UU Lalit and Justices Ravindra Bhat and Bela M Trivedi has asked the Union home ministry and the Election Commission to file their responses on the matter.
The petition will be heard on December 9.
Section 62(5) of the Representation of People Act states: “No person shall vote at any election if he is confined in a prison, whether under a sentence of imprisonment or transportation or otherwise, or is in the lawful custody of the police.
In 2019, Aditya Prasanna Bhattacharya, who was then a third-year law student, had filed a petition contending that using “confinement” as the yardstick for barring persons from voting created several anomalies.
Bhattacharya argued in his plea that undertrials are denied the right to vote under this provision even though their guilt has not been proven, Live Law reported. The “excessively broad language” used in the provision also prohibits those detained in civil prisons from voting, the petition also stated.
The petitioner demanded that Section 62(5) of the Representation of People Act be struck down as it violates the Right to Equality guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution.