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Right to Contest not Equivalent to Right to Release for Campaigning, Delhi HC Tells Mukhtar Ansari

In a setback to the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Delhi High Court today stayed the custody parole granted to MLA Mukhtar Ansari who has been elected from the Mau constituency of Uttar Pradesh for a record number of four times.

Debayan Roy | News18.com

Updated:February 27, 2017, 12:05 PM IST
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Right to Contest not Equivalent to Right to Release for Campaigning, Delhi HC Tells Mukhtar Ansari
Mukhtar Ansari joined Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) recently.
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New Delhi: In a setback to the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Delhi High Court on Monday stayed the custody parole granted to MLA Mukhtar Ansari who has been elected from the Mau constituency of Uttar Pradesh for a record number of four times.

The court also held that the Right to contest the election “cannot imply that the candidate gets a right to be released from jail for campaigning.”

Today’s order is on the Election Commission’s plea for nullifying Ansari’s custody parole which was granted by a trial court for canvassing in the assembly polls.

While staying Ansari’s custody parole, Justice Mukta Gupta said, “When a person in custody fills up a nomination as a candidate, he does not get a vested right to be released for canvassing. If the candidate is in custody for an alleged offence, it would be the discretion of the Court to release him for campaigning.”

The high court had earlier reserved its verdict on February 22 after the EC, Ansari and the State had finished submitting its arguments. While reserving the order, Justice Mukta Gupta had said that what Ansari was getting “was more than a bail.”

“This is an issue that warrants concern. What he (Ansari) is getting (custody parole with armed guards) is actually more than bail,” said Justice Gupta.

Ansari had recently joined the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to contest from the Mau Assembly seat and was given custody parole until March 4 which would enable him to campaign for the election.

The MLA is currently facing trial in the 2005 murder cases of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai and EC was concerned that Ansari might use his parole to influence the witnesses in this case.

Later, the state of Uttar Pradesh, the prosecuting agency and the complainant in the BJP MLA murder case had also moved the high court, opposing Ansari’s release from a Lucknow jail.

But Ansari’s counsel stated that EC’s contentions were baseless “since none of the witnesses are from the Mau district.” The counsel also said that Ansari was ready to give an undertaking that he would not violate the court order.

On February 16, the trial court had granted Ansari custody parole. EC had submitted that Ansari’s release might “create fear in the mind of the voters if he was allowed to roam around in the constituency.”

The BSP had taken the jailed candidate as a new member after his Qaumi Ekta Dal merged with the party ahead of the UP Assembly polls.

| Edited by: Mirza Arif Beg
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