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SC approves changes in law to allow jailed persons to contest

Jailed politicians can now contest elections after the Supreme Court on Tuesday approved changes made in the Representation of People Act (RP Act) by Parliament. The apex court had, in July this year, barred them from contesting elections after which the government made required changes in the act to negate the apex court order.

The court on Tuesday dismissed the review petition of the central government on debarring arrested persons from contesting state assembly and parliament elections, taking note of the changes made in the RP Act. The amendment, which comes into effect from 10 July this year, the day on which the verdict was delivered, allows the person either in judicial custody or police custody to contest elections.

A bench comprising of Justice A K Patnaik and SJ Mukhopadhayay said that as a consequence of the amendment a person does not cease to be elector only by reason of his being in police custody or in imprisonment and therefore he/she can contest election to state legislature as well as Parliament. The bench, however, said the issue of constitutional validity of the amendment will be considered separately after an NGO Lok Prahri opposed the central government’s review petition and said it has challenged the amendment in the RP Act in this regard.
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