It are deprived of their freedom of

0 Comment

It has been argued that this provision offends the spirit of Article 14 by making an arbitrary distinction. Another relevant aspect is that those who are detained under a preventive detention law are entitled to vote by virtue of section 60 of the Representation of the People Act. This distinction made between the arrestees detained under preventive detention laws and other arrestees seems to be artificial, for arrests in both the cases are made on the basis of suspicion. Suspicion of a person being a threat to peace and order and suspicion of one having committed a crime is suspicion nevertheless. There is no reason why one category of detainees be allowed to vote while the others be disallowed. If a distinction is made without there being any actual distinction relatable to the purpose of legislation, the provision may well fall foul with Article 14.

Besides, it is also argued that prisoners are deprived of their freedom of movement, but they are still entitled to other rights under the Constitution. Therefore, taking away the right to vote amounts to imposing a punishment, which the arrestee did nothing to deserve. If Article 326 is relied upon for the defence of the provision, it might well be argued that the Constitutional provision referred to, uses the terms ‘crime or corrupt or illegal practice’ in relation to elections only and not to other crimes. Therefore, the deprivation of voting rights to prisoners is punitive in nature and does not serve the purpose of attaining the objectives of the Act or the Constitution.

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