A Public Interest Litigation has been filed in the Supreme Court of India challenging the provisions of Section 62(5) of the Representation of the People Act 1951 (RP Act). Section 62(5) prohibits a person confined in the prison from casting his/her vote at any elections.
The petitioner highlighted that the word “confinement” used in the section as the yardstick thereby which creates deviation. He further added that the prisoner who has been sentenced for a finite period of imprisonment or even under-trials who has neither been proved innocent nor guilty and the decision is still pending are deprived of their right to vote.
In addition, the petitioner stated that a convict released on bail has the right to vote as he/she is not confined in prison. However, a person detained in civil prison is deprived of their right to vote.
The language of the provision directs that anybody who is confined in prison is deprived to the right to vote and it lacks reasonable classification based on the nature of the crime committed or duration of the sentence imposed.
In reference to support the argument, the petitioner mentioned ShayaraBano’s case wherein the Supreme Court said that arbitrariness is a litmus test to determine a violation of Article 14. Section 62(5) does not allow a person to vote as he/she is confined in prison in a manner that is arbitrary and it violates Article 14.
The petitioner further raised a violation of Article 326 of the Constitution of India which offers Right to vote as was held by the Supreme Court of India.
The Court has passed an order to file an affidavit by the petitioner stating the reason to file a PIL on this subject under Article 32.
The matter is listed in Court after two weeks.