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SC stays order on undertrial candidates

May 06, 2004 11:47 IST
Last Updated: May 06, 2004 18:21 IST

The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed a Patna high court order directing the Election Commission to countermand polls at constituencies contested by undertrials, who do not have the right to vote.

Admitting an appeal filed by the EC, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S Rajendra Babu said, "When the elections have reached the last stage, the directions of the high court are not practicably implementable."

However, the court kept open the question of "whether an undertrial prisoner, who has no right to vote, could contest an election' for future consideration.

The EC's main objection to the April 30 order was that under Article 329(b) of the Constitution, the judiciary is specifically barred from interfering in the election process once it starts.

The HC had also ordered the commission to consider countermanding elections in the constituencies where proclaimed absconders had cast their vote.

The commission in its petition said the direction of the HC in the midst of the elections would result in disruption of the election process.

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