Himalayan News Service

New Delhi, May 6:

The Supreme Court today stayed a Patna High Court order directing the Election Commission to disqualify candidates who were in jail and countermand polls in their constituencies.

A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice S Rajendra Babu, Justices GP Mathur and SH Kapadia stayed the order dated April 30 while admitting a special leave petition filed by the commission challenging the order. The bench said though the matter required examination, countermanding the elections would not be possible when the last phase of polls was yet to be held. The bench stayed the order and asked the petitioner before the High Court to file his response to the Election Commission petition.

Appearing for the commission, senior council KK Venugopal argued that no court can interfere in the polls once the election process commenced. The High Court order could not be implemented at this stage of election, he said.

However, appearing for the petitioner before the High Court, council Amarendra Saran said a prisoner was not entitled to vote and applying this analogy, the High Court had said once a person was not entitled to vote he was not an elector and hence he was not entitled to contest.

The bench said the matter required examination but as the High Court order could not

be implemented, it was staying the order.