Undertrials deprived of voting

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 Oct 2018 11:33:57


 

By Ashish Rajput,

 

Undertrial prisoners have right to appeal before the court to cast their votes

Amidst the spree of providing right of equality to the adult citizens of India by ensuring their participation in the biggest festival of democracy, thousands of undertrial prisoners confined in jails are till deprived from right to vote. Even after several debates and legal proceedings, undertrial prisoners are yet to get awareness of their right to vote.


Ironically, the undertrial prisoners, who get bail from jail, can exercise their franchise, but those who failed to get bail are deprived of the same. It is also a fact that the number of undertrial prisoners is higher than convicts in jails. The criminals who are under preventive detention are given ballot papers by jail authority and they can exercise their franchise in presence of presiding officer.


District Election Officer and Collector, Chhavi Bharadwaj while talking to ‘The Hitavada’, confirmed that the undertrial prisoners may appeal the court to get right of vote. She agreed that most of the prisoners who are undertrial are unaware about their right to vote. She admitted that there is a need to educate and make the undertrial prisoners aware and extending them opportunity to exercise their right to vote.


DEO, Bharadwaj has assured to take cognizance of the issue to provide right of equality to undertrial prisoners. She said, the jail authorities and legal service authority should co-ordinate to take necessary initiative in this regard.


It may be noted that, as per the rules of the Election Commission of India, according to Section 62(5) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, 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.
Under the Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) programme, people from every section of society like new voters, women, disabled, elderly voters are being made aware and facilitated to ensure their participation in polling.


As a matter of fact, thousands of undertrial prisoners, who are confined in different jails, are still unaware of their voting rights. Senior Advocate of Madhya Pradesh High Court, Sampoorna Tiwari, while taking to ‘The Hitavada’, informed that undertrial prisoners have right to appeal before the court to cast their votes under the Representation of the People Act-1951. Surprisingly, most of the undertrial prisoners are deprived of their voting right in absence of correct information. Undertrial prisoners are yet to receive any kind of legal assistance to encourage them to vote. He informed that undertrial prisoners can use their fundamental right of voting by submitting application for suspension of sentence before the court.

 

 


 

DEO, Bharadwaj has assured to take
cognizance of the issue to provide right of equality to undertrial prisoners. She said, the jail authorities and legal service authority should co-ordinate to take necessary initiative in this regard

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Senior Advocate of Madhya Pradesh High Court, Sampoorna Tiwari, informed that undertrial prisoners can use their fundamental right of voting by submitting application for suspension of sentence before the court