The Enforcement Directorate today opposed NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal’s plea seeking permission to vote in the July 17 presidential election. “We opposed it on the ground that the special PMLA court has no jurisdiction to pass orders on person’s constitutional rights,” special ED counsel Hiten Venegoankar said. The court cannot direct the Election Commission to make any special provision for a prisoner and only the high court can pass such a direction, he said.
“The issue whether section 62(5) of the Representation of People Act (barring a prison inmate, except those under preventive detention, from voting in an election) can be applied to presidential election is sub-judice before the Supreme Court,” Venegoankar said, adding that hence the PMLA court should not pass any orders. The court asked Bhujbal’s lawyer if he wanted to withdraw the application. The lawyer sought time to take instructions from Bhujbal as to whether he wanted to move the high court.
Bhujbal is in judicial custody since his arrest under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) last year. The former deputy chief minister of Maharashtra is currently the MLA from Yeola in Nashik district. The ED arrested him last year for his alleged roles in the Maharashtra Sadan scam and Kalina land allotment case.