NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday refused to grant parole to UP MLA Mukhtar Ansari and said the right to contest an election from jail does not give anyone the right to be released for campaigning.
Justice Mukta Gupta in her 23-page order said, “A right to contest the election cannot imply that the candidate gets a right to be released from jail for canvassing as a candidate for being elected. If the candidate is in custody for an alleged offence, it would be the discretion of the court to release him or not, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case.”
The court while setting aside the trial court's decision to grant custody parole to Ansari said, “When a person in custody fills up nomination as a candidate, he does not get a vested right to be released for canvassing. He runs the risk of not being released on bail to contest election from custody.”
Ansari, an MLA who recently joined the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to contest from Mau Assembly seat in UP, was given custody parole by a trial court on February 16 till March 4, enabling him to campaign in the election.
But the order was stayed the next day by the high court after Election Commission of India moved a plea seeking cancellation of his parole on the ground that he may influence witnesses in the 2005 murder case of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai in which he is facing trial in a Delhi court.
“No court can pass orders violating the ethos of a free and fair election. Undoubtedly the impugned order violates the instructions of ECI," the court said.
The accused, while seeking relief, had told the trial court that he has been in judicial custody since December 2005 and was granted parole to contest polls earlier too.
Ansari has over 40 criminal cases against him, including that of murder and kidnapping.