No legal bar on Sadhvi Pragya from contesting Lok Sabha elections, say experts

Mumbai: The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) ‘sudden’ announcement to give ticket to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, a prime accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, to contest from Bhopal has kicked off a fresh controversy. However, speaking legally, there is no bar on fielding such a candidate.

“As of now, there is no legal bar on a person against whom a court of law has framed charges. A person, who is facing a trial cannot be barred from contesting,” said Justice (retd.) Abhay Thipsay of the Bombay High Court.

“Only a person who is convicted by a court of law cannot contest,” added Justice Thipsay, who has joined the Congress party after his retirement. It would not be out of place to mention that earlier another accused in the very same case, Major Ramesh Upadhyay had contested the election from Uttar Pradesh.

Justice Thipsay, however, criticised the BJP for fielding her. “I believe a person whose image is blemished or is accused of such grave charges, must not be allowed to contest. But here, we cannot say anything because it is the policy of her party (BJP),” said Justice Thipsay.

Notably, Sadhvi, who was seen walking easily and giving interviews to some media houses, is out on bail and has till date maintained that she cannot walk owing to her ‘infirmity’ due to injuries and terminal disease.

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