Image source: thehindu.com
A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice V Ramasubramanian held that a vote caste by a lawmaker prior to his conviction in a criminal case on the same day can't be termed as invalid saying holding him disqualified even before he was convicted "would grossly violate his substantive right to be treated as innocent until proven guilty". The bench held that disqualification arising under Section 8(3) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 is the consequence of the conviction and sentence imposed by the criminal Court and the consequence can never precede the cause. A bench of CJI Bobde held as valid, the vote caste by then Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) MLA Amit Kumar Mahto in 2018 Rajya Sabha election at 9:15 am prior to his conviction and sentence at 2:30 pm on March 23, resulting in the loss of BJP candidate Pradeep Kumar Sonthalia.
The bench said that " In as much as a conviction for an offence is under a penal law, it cannot be deemed to have effect from a point of time anterior to the conviction itself".