2 Jailed Candidates Won Lok Sabha Elections; Can They Take Oath?

OB Bureau

New Delhi: Two Independent candidates did not just contest the Lok Sabha elections from prison, but also won.

Sheikh Abdul Rashid, also known as Engineer Rashid, toppled former Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah to bag the Baramulla seat by a margin of over 2 lakh votes.

The 56-year-old Rashid has been lodged in Tihar jail since August 9, 2019, on charges of alleged terror financing.

Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh, on the other hand, won by 1.97 lakh votes over Congress party’s Kulbir Singh Zira by 1.97 lakh votes.

The chief of Waris Punjab De (WPD) outfit, who surrendered to Punjab Police in April 2023, was booked under National Security Act and lodged in Assam’s Dibrugarh jail.

So what happens to these new MPs who have got the mandate to represent people from their respective constituencies in Lok Sabha?

The law will keep them away from attending proceedings of the 18th Lok Sabha, but they have the Constitutional right to take oath as members, reported PTI.

Constitutional expert and former Lok Sabha secretary general PDT Achari emphasised on the importance of following Constitutional provisions in such cases.

Rashid and Amritpal have to seek permission from the authorities to be escorted to Parliament for the oath-taking ceremony, which is likely to take place at Rashtrapati Bhavan during the weekend.

But after taking oath, they will have to return to jail, unless they obtain a court order.

If the court refuses to grant any such order, Achari said — citing Article 101 (4) of the Constitution — that they will have to write to the Speaker informing him/her about their inability to attend the House.

The Speaker will refer their requests to the House Committee on Absence of Members, which will recommend whether the member should be allowed to remain absent from House proceedings or not. That recommendation will then be put to vote in the House by the Speaker.

However, if Rashid and/or Amritpal are convicted and imprisoned for a minimum of two years, they would lose their seats in Lok Sabha immediately, as per Supreme Court judgment of 2013.

OB Bureau

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