Jalandhar, July 5 (YP Bureau)
Election Commission’s statement clarifying that convicted Akali MLA Bibi Jagir Kaur was eligible to cast her vote in the July 19 presidential election has not gone well with her arch rival and former Bholath MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira.
Khaira has asked the Commission to reconsider its decision seeking to restrain the convicted legislator from voting. Bibi Jagir Kaur is currently serving five-year sentence in Kapurthala Jail for forcing in a case related to abduction and forceful abortion of her daughter Harpreet Kaur.
Khaira has asked the Commission to reconsider its decision. In a communiqué to Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath Khaira has requested him to “reconsider voting right” to convicted Akali MLA in the ensuing Presidential election in the light of Section 11-A (1) of Representation of the People Act, 1951.
Khaira has cited Section 11-A (1) of the RPA 1951. It read, “Disqualification arising out of conviction and corrupt practices. If any person, after the commencement of this Act,-3[ is convicted of an offence punishable under Section 171E or Section 171F of the Indian Penal Code, or under Section 125 or Section 135 or clause (a) of sub-Section (2) of Section 136 of this Act, (45 of 1860) 4  he shall, for a period of six years from the date of the conviction or from the date on which the order takes effect, be disqualified for voting at any election.”
Khaira added, “At present appeals of those convicted for five years are being heard by the High Court for the years 2000-2002, which is 10 to 12 year old appeals. Going by this logic, the appeal of Bibi Jagir Kaur is likely to be decided not before 2022…Then what bearing will the conviction have for these many years? It is as good as being exonerated.”
Tthe former MLA said, “I fail to understand the provision of Section 8 (4) of the RPA, 1951 that allows a criminal to vote during the election of President on the ground that an appeal has been made by Bibi Jagir Kaur in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.”
“I request that a criminal be restrained from taking part in the voting or election to the highest office of the country under Section 11-A (1) of the RPA 1951. It would not only set a bad precedent but would also denigrate the august office of President of India,” he added.