Denied permission to vote in RS polls, Deshmukh, Malik seek relief for MLC elections

Jailed Maharashtra Cabinet minister Nawab Malik and former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, who are both in judicial custody for different cases, have approached the Bombay High Court seeking release to vote in Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) elections scheduled for June 20.

Deshmukh has filed an interim plea in his bail application in a money laundering case seeking a release next week, adding that if permitted, he can go with an escort for the polls. A bench of Justice N J Jamadar said that he will hear Deshmukh’s plea on Wednesday.

Arrested NCP minister Malik has also approached HC seeking similar relief. A single-judge bench of Justice Prakash D Naik denied Malik the permission to “substantially” amend his earlier plea for June 10 RS elections to accommodate request for June 20 elections, asking him to file a fresh petition instead.

“It is a fresh cause of action. You may lose time like last time. You have to file a fresh petition. By making an amendment, a new prayer cannot be inserted. Something which is against the procedure, this court will not allow,” said Justice Naik.

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In his fresh plea, Malik, before a bench of Justice Bharati H Dangre, sought liberty to approach the Chief Justice, who is administrative head of HC, to tag his petition along with that of Deshmukh who has sought identical reliefs. Justice Dangre will hear Malik’s request on Tuesday morning.

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Earlier, on Friday, Justice Naik had refused to give immediate relief to Malik in his plea challenging special court order rejecting his plea in which he sought nod to visit the Vidhan Bhavan for Rajya Sabha elections. The court asked him to approach an appropriate bench to seek relief. Thereafter, Malik’s lawyers tried to mention his plea before Justice Dangre, who refused immediate hearing and said: “If a special court has refused permission, then when is the question of sending him an escort? The order has to be set aside.” Malik failed to seek permission to vote for the elections.

Deshmukh had also approached the High Court challenging the special court order. However, his lawyers did not pursue the same and did not seek a hearing on Friday.

On June 9, Special Judge R N Rokade of the PMLA court, while rejecting the pleas of the two leaders, had said that they are “not entitled to vote” in the RS elections and “cannot claim entitlement” to get the facility to go to Vidhan Sabha for the purpose.

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