The Supreme Court today refused to release Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh from prison to vote in the Municipal Legislative Council elections. The Court also said that it is willing to hear the questions of law involved in the interpretation of Section 62(5) of the Representative of People Act, while declining interim relief.

The Bench comprising of Justice C. T. Ravikumar and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia heard Senior Advocate Meenakshi Arora appearing on behalf of Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh.

She submitted that the petitioners want to go and cast vote in the MLC elections along with escorts. She stressed that the petitioners are elected members of a constituency representing the people. "In my case, I am not just an elector on an electoral roll, I am an elected representative. I represent those who have elected me", she said.

Arora submitted that the right to vote is a constitutional right, though not a fundamental right and that constitutional right is on a higher pedestal than a statutory right. She said, "I represent the constituency, through me my constituency is there."

The Bench responded saying that, "Tomorrow you may say that release me because my constituency is not being represented on the floor".

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Respondents submitted that the embargo under Section 62(5) of the Act would also be applicable to MLAs if the MLC election is involved. Meenakshi Arora in response submitted that there is a difference between a criminal in prison and an MLA in prison.

Senior Advocate Meenakshi Arora had made an urgent mention before the Supreme Court, the petition challenging the order of the Bombay High Court refusing to temporarily release Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik and former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh to vote in the Maharashtra Legislative Council Election that is happening today.

The Bombay High Court Bench of Justice N. J. Jamadar had on June 17 passed an order rejecting the pleas of the duo to cast voting with police escorts. The Bench referred to Section 62(5) of the Representation of the Peoples Act and observed that not only a convict but also an undertrial would be barred from voting. He had stated in the order that, "If a full play is given to the provisions contained in subsection (2)(d) and Section 62(5) of the R.P.Act, 1951, an inference becomes inescapable that a person in custody, either post-conviction or during the course of investigation or trial, is prohibited from casting vote in any election."

The Former State Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has been in prison for allegedly misusing his position and collecting Rs. 4.70 crore from the bars in Bombay with the help of Mumbai Police. Nawab Malik has been in the prison in a money laundering case linked to Dawood Ibrahim and his aides.