Chhagan Bhujbal allowed to cast vote in presidential polls 2017, tells Mumbai court it's his constitutional right

Mumbai: A special court in Mumbai on Monday allowed senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal's application seeking permission to vote in the 17 July presidential election. "The court has allowed our plea," Bhujbal's lawyer Salabh Saxena said.

Bhujbal has been in judicial custody since his arrest under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) last year. The former deputy chief minister of Maharashtra had moved the special court recently, seeking to exercise his franchise in the presidential election saying that he is an MLA from Yeola assembly constituency (in Nashik district) and his name appears in the list of voters.

 Chhagan Bhujbal allowed to cast vote in presidential polls 2017, tells Mumbai court its his constitutional right

File image of NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal. PTI

He also told the court that casting his vote was his constitutional duty as well as a right. Saxena argued that since Bhujbal is in the custody of the PMLA court, the latter has the right to grant permission to him to vote.

However, Hiten Venegaonkar, special counsel for the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had earlier opposed Bhujbal's plea saying the PMLA court has no jurisdiction to pass orders on any individual's constitutional rights.

"The court cannot direct the Election Commission to make any special provision for a prisoner and only the high court can pass such a direction," he had argued.

Venegaonkar had also said that the issue whether section 62(5) of the Representation of People Act (barring a prison inmate, except those under preventive detention, from voting in an election) can be applied to the presidential election, was pending before the Supreme Court and hence the PMLA court should not pass any orders.

Bhujbal was arrested by the ED last year for his alleged roles in the Maharashtra Sadan scam and Kalina land allotment case.

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Updated Date: Jul 04, 2017 09:43:48 IST