Plea in SC on voting rights of undertrials and convicts

  1. A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the law which bars undertrials and convicts from voting.
  2. Section 62(5) of the Representation of the People Act,1951 says that 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 lawful custody of the police.This provision exempts a person held under preventive detention and a person out on bail.
  3. The petitioner points out that the section uses ‘confined’ as the yardstick which has created several anomalies.The petition highlights how this section sees both an undertrial and a convicted person equally.
  4. The undertrial guilt is yet to be proved in a court.A person is innocent until proven guilty by law.Despite this,it denies an undertrial the right to vote but allows a detainee the same.However,a person out on bail is allowed to cast his vote.
  5. The petitioner has argued that the provision violates (a)Article 326 of the Constitution which says that the right to vote is a Constitutional right (b)Right to equality guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution as it was discriminatory.