Image Source : INDIA TV Engineer Rashid and Amritpal Singh

As the elections for the 18th Lok Sabha have concluded, there are two new Members of Parliament who are incarcerated and have won their respective seats from the jail. This gives rise to an unusual situation. Lets look at how their tenure will proceed according to the rule book.

Incarcerated new MPs in 18th Lok Sabha

Radical Khalistani preacher Amritpal Singh won in Punjab’s Khaddor Sahib seat by 1,97,120 votes. He polled 4,04,430 votes and defeated Congress’ Kulbir Singh Zira, who polled 2,07,310 votes. Singh was arrested in April 2023 under the NSA and is currently lodged in Dibrugarh jail in Assam.

Second incarcerated MP is Sheikh Abdul Rashid, alias Engineer Rashid from Jammu and Kashmir’s Baramulla Lok Sabha seat. He polled 4,72,481 votes and defeated former J-K CM Omar Abdullah with a margin of 2,04,142 votes. Rashid has been lodged in Tihar jail since August 9, 2019, on charges of terror financing.

Rules for incarcerated MPs

There are constitutional provisions for such cases. First fo all taking oath and being sworn as a Member of Parliament is a constitutional right under the law. PTI quoted Constitution expert and former Lok Sabha secretary general PDT Achari who said that both the imprisoned MPs will have to seek permission from authorities to be taken to the parliament for oath-taking ceremony.

After their swearing-in, they would be taken back to the prison. With respect to the provisions of Article 101(4) of the Indian Constitution, they will have to write to the speaker of the house informing about the reason for their absence. It is important to note here that as per Article 101(4), if any parliamentarian remaining absent from the house meetings for sixty days without permission, the house may declare their seat vacant.

Nonetheless, the speaker after getting their request, will refer it to the House Committee on Absence of Members. The committee will then recommend whether the MP should be allowed to remain absent from House proceedings or not. The recommendation will then be put to vote in the House by the Speaker.

Conviction of MPs

In case, the incarcerated members gets convicted during his tenure for a sentence of minimum two years, they would lose their seats in the Lok Sabha immediately as per the Supreme Court judgment of 2013, which struck down section 8(4) of the Representation of the People Act. Earlier, under section 8(4), the convicted MPs and MLAs were given three month to appeal against the conviction.

(With PTI Inputs)

ALSO READ | Baramulla Lok Sabha election results: Engineer Rashid defeats Omar Abdullah by 2,04,142 votes

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