UP polls: In blow to Mukhtar Ansari, Delhi HC dismisses parole plea for campaigning
The Delhi High Court today set aside a trial court order granting custody parole to BSP strongman MLA Mukhtar Ansari for canvassing in the UP Assembly polls.
Justice Mukta Gupta allowed the Election Commission's plea seeking cancellation of Ansari's parole.
"The petition (poll panel plea) is allowed," the court said.
Ansari, an MLA who recently joined the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to contest from Mau Assembly seat in UP, was given custody parole till March 4, enabling him to campaign in the election.
The High Court, however, on February 17 had stayed its operation after the poll panel moved a plea seeking cancellation of his parole on the ground that he may influence witnesses in the 2005 murder case of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai, in which he is facing trial.
Later the State of Uttar Pradesh, the prosecuting agency and the complainant in the BJP MLA's case, also moved the High Court opposing Ansari's release from jail in Lucknow.
However, their contention was opposed by Ansari's counsel, who had said that Election Commission of India's claims are baseless and it is not the ground to restrict his movement in his constituency from where he is contesting, as none of the witnesses are from there.
Senior advocates Salman Khurshid and Sudhir Nandrajog, appearing for the leader had said that only in an extraordinary situation, the EC can come to court.
"Participation of candidates in free and fair election is also a basic structure of the Constitution," the counsel had submitted.
They had contended that Ansari has been elected from Mau constituency for a record four times and he is willing to give an undertaking to the court that he will not violate its order.
This was strongly opposed by the poll panel, which was represented by senior advocate Dayan Krishnan, who had said that the release of the accused would have a direct impact on conduct of free and fair election in Mau constituency.
The EC had further submitted that the judgement of this court is going to have far reaching consequences on the poll panel's power.
"We have material to oppose the parole," Krishnan had argued.
The trial court had on February 16 granted him custody parole.
The accused, while seeking the relief, had told the trialcourt that he has been in judicial custody since December 2005 and was granted parole to contest polls earlier too.
Ansari has over 40 criminal cases against him, including that of murder and kidnapping.