Timing of Votes

The disqualification under Section 8 of The Representation of People Act, 1951 is relatable to Article 191(1)(e). Therefore, any interpretation to Section 8 should be in sync with the constitutional scheme. Once the period of disqualification starts running, the seat, hitherto held by the person disqualified, becomes vacant by virtue of Article 190(3). His name is liable to be deleted from the list of Members of the State Legislative Assembly, maintained under Section 152, though the actual deletion may take time. He ceases to be an elector vide Rule 2(d) of The Conduct of Election Rules, 1961. He is not entitled to cast his vote for electing under Article 80(4).

Shri Amit Kumar Mahto cast his vote at 09:15 AM and was convicted at 14:30 PM, on 23.03.2018. The disqualification in this case, under Section 8(3), was triggered by the conviction. To hold, Member of the Legislative Assembly stood disqualified even before he was convicted, would grossly violate his substantive right to be treated as innocent until proved guilty. In other words, conviction is the cause and disqualification is the consequence. A consequence can never precede the cause. The vote cast by Shri Amit Kumar Mahto at 09:15 AM is a valid vote.

[Pashupati Nath Singh v. Harihar Prasad Singh, AIR 1968 SC 1064 can be said to be a mirror image or the converse of the case on hand.]

Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, Hon’ble Justice S.A. Bobde, Pradeep Kumar Sonthalia v. Dhiraj Prasad Sahu, [Civil Appeal No. 611 of 2020].

HOPE