The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea seeking voting rights for prisoners by challenging Section 62(5) of the Representation of People Act, 1951, as the issue has already been settled by the Supreme Court.

"The constitutional validity of the provision under Section 62(5) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 has been upheld by a two judge bench of this Court and later by a three judge bench of this Court. In view of these decisions we are not inclined to entertain the petition", said the bench led by CJI D.Y. Chandrachud.

Counsel for the respondent had raised a preliminary objection stating that a three judge bench of the Court has upheld the same provision, which is under challenge in the petition, therefore, as the issue is already settled, the Court should not delve into it again.

"In the absence of a personal grievance the same can not be challenged, the petitioner is not denied the right under the provision", argued the counsel for the respondent.

The counsel for the petitioner then submitted that it is an academic challenge. The Court, however, refused to accept the argument.

A bench of Justice UU Lalit, Justice Ravindra Bhat and Justice Bela M Trivedi had earlier issued a notice on this plea, after the Petitioner submitted that more than 70% of prisoners are undertrial as per NCRB data. The PIL filed by one Aditya Prasanna Bhattacharya challenged Section 62(5) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 which denies prisoners of their voting rights.

The petition was filed through Advocate Zoheb Hossain claiming that such deprivation of voting rights is manifestly arbitrary and violates the right to equality and vote.

Article 326 of the Constitution of India provides that elections shall be based on the basis of adult suffrage and a person's right to vote may be taken away by the Constitution or any law on the ground of non-residence, unsoundness of mind, crime or corrupt or illegal practice.

Similarly, Section 62(5) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 provides that no person shall vote at any election if he is confined in a prison, whether under a sentence of imprisonment or transportation or otherwise, or is in the lawful custody of the police. However, the law allows a person detained under preventive detention law to vote.

Cause Title: Aditya Prasanna Bhattacharya v. Union of India