What Happens To Jailed LS Poll Winners? 

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What Happens To Jailed LS Poll Winners? 

| Updated: June 6, 2024 10:22

The law prevents them from attending House proceedings, but they can take oath as MPs

Two candidates currently imprisoned on terror charges have won seats in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, raising questions about how they will take their oaths.

Radical Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh won Punjab’s Khadoor Sahib seat, while terror financing accused Sheikh Abdul Rashid, also known as Engineer Rashid, secured the Baramulla seat in Jammu and Kashmir.

Engineer Rashid has been in Tihar jail since August 2019 on terror financing charges, while Amritpal Singh was arrested in April 2023 under the National Security Act and is held in Dibrugarh prison in Assam.

The key question now is whether these newly elected MPs will be allowed to take their oaths, and if so, how. Although the law prevents them from attending House proceedings, they retain the constitutional right to take the oath as Members of Parliament.

Norms to be followed

Constitution experts say that being sworn in as a Member of Parliament is a constitutional right, but because they are currently in prison, they must seek permission from authorities to be escorted to Parliament for the oath-taking ceremony. Once they have taken the oath, they will return to prison.

After taking the oath, the MPs will need to inform the Speaker of their inability to attend the House. The Speaker will then refer their requests to the House Committee on Absence of Members. The committee will recommend whether the member should be allowed to remain absent from House proceedings. This recommendation will then be put to a vote in the House by the Speaker.

If Engineer Rashid or Amritpal Singh are convicted, they would immediately lose their seats in the Lok Sabha. This is based on a 2013 Supreme Court judgement that disqualifies MPs and MLAs in such cases. The decision nullified section 8(4) of the Representation of the People Act, which previously granted convicted MPs and MLAs three months to appeal their convictions.

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