Section 8(3) Of The Representation Of People’s Act, 1951 Still In Action



The word Criminalization is not alien to politics in India. A number of politicians have huge criminal records and still contest elections. Though the Representation of People Act 1951 has provisions to combat this problem but the same are maneuvered in ways that dilute the purpose of the Act and Politicians with a criminal record participating in elections. Recently, the High Court of Bombay was faced with a similar matter and it echoed the purpose of the section 8(3) refusing a convict from contesting elections.

In its recent judgment, in Navnath Sadashiv Taras and ors. v. The State of Maharashtra the Hon’ble High Court of Bombay has reiterated that section 8(3) which talks about the disqualification from contesting in elections on conviction for certain offences  has been incorporated in the Representation of People Act, 1951 for the sake of barring convicts from contesting elections.  The appellant accused in the case had filed an application praying for the suspension of his conviction for an offence punishable under section 307 r/w section 34 of the IPC, during the pendency of the appeal that he had already filed. He wanted to contest the election of but section 8(3) which prohibits a person convicted and sentenced for a term not less than 2 years from contesting elections, disallowed him. The appellant’s counsel drew the Court’s attention to section 8(4) arguing that the bar is not absolute and once the conviction is stayed, the convict can contest elections. He relied on the Rajbala and Others vs. State of Haryana and Others[1] where it was held that right to vote and right to contest are constitutional rights of the citizen. But the Court refused stay relying on the decision of Hon’ble Supreme Court in Ravikant S. Patil v. Sarvabhabhouma S. Bagali[2] that power to stay the conviction should be exercised only in exceptional circumstances where failure to stay would lead to injustice and irreversible consequences.

[1] (2016) 2 Supreme Court Cases 445

[2] (2007) 1 SCC 673

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