Plea in SC seeks directions to permit undertrial politicians to campaign for elections

According to sources within the top court registry and staff, the plea is expected to be heard within a week.
Supreme Court of India building in New Delhi.
Supreme Court of India building in New Delhi.FILE Photo | PTI

NEW DELHI: A plea has been filed in India's top court on Monday seeking permission for undertrial politicians in jail to campaign for elections, at least via video conference.

The plea, accessed by TNIE, has been filed by law student Amarjeet Gupta, challenging the Delhi High Court's dismissal of his PIL on May 1. The HC had dismissed his PIL, which raised concerns over the timing of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's arrest ahead of the 2024 general elections.

According to sources within the top court registry and staff, Gupta's plea is expected to be heard within a week.

The petitioner has contended that the Delhi HC had erroneously and arbitrarily dismissed the petition contrary to certain verdicts of the court and that it couldn't appreciate the pious public interest of the petition.

In his PIL, Gupta had sought a direction to the Centre to promptly provide information about the arrest of a political party leader or candidate to the Election Commission of India (ECI) when the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) had been enforced.

The petitioner also sought a direction to the ECI to establish a mechanism ensuring that under-trial political party leaders and candidates are permitted to campaign through virtual conferences, subject to reasonable restrictions as determined by a competent court or the ECI.

The counsel for the petitioner had stated that the present PIL has been filed on behalf of the affected party leaders and electors in Delhi.

Gupta stated in his plea that he was aggrieved by the timing of the arrest of Kejriwal, AAP's National Convenor on March 21, 2024.

"The said arrest has deprived the electors of Delhi with respect to their right to get information from the said party leader by listening to him during the ongoing election campaign. The right of the electors to be informed about the ideology, plans and programs of AAP have been curtailed on account of the said arrest," the appeal of Gupta said.

He thereby moved the SC challenging the HC's order of dismissal of his PIL.

"To ensure free and fair elections and level playing field to all political parties, the UOI and other authorities, should ensure the detailed information about the arrest of political leader or candidate is immediately communicated to the ECI," his plea said.

It also added that the ECI has failed to give any reply to the representations made by the Petitioner. The UOI also did not provide the ECI with the necessary information about the arrest of a political party leader and / or candidate, the plea of Gupta said.

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