New Delhi: Two candidates from Punjab’s Khadoor Sahib and Kashmir’s Baramulla constituency are currently in prison on charges related to terrorism and have been elected in the 2024 Lok Sabha election. The result was declared by the Election Commission of India (ECI) on June 4 which raised the unusual situation. 

As per ECI, Radical Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh secured a victory from the Khadoor Sahib seat of Punjab while terror financing accused Sheikh Abdul Rashid also known as Engineer Rashid won from the Baramulla parliamentary constituency of Jammu and Kashmir.

Amritpal Singh secured victory from a margin of 1,97,120 votes against Congress leader Kulbir Singh Zira. Amritpal is the chief of the ‘Waris Punjab De’ outfit and is currently lodged in Dibrugarh jail of Assam under the National Security Act (NSA). Rashid won from Baramulla Lok Sabha seat against  National Conference (NC) Vice President Omar Abdullah by a huge margin. 

On jailed candidates being elected in Lok Sabha seats, Senior Advocate Vikas Singh said, “…The number of legislators with criminal charges is on the rise… The makers of the Constitution would have never thought that such people would be elected to the Parliament. A constitutional amendment is needed to specify the charges, holding which, the candidates will be disqualified from contesting elections”

“The irony is, that people in jails cannot vote, but can contest and win elections… A Parliamentary seat cannot lie vacant for more than 60 days, irrespective of whether they have taken an oath,” he said while speaking to ANI. 

He further said that the Parliament should step in and not let such people get elected and in cases where they have to vacate their seats, they should not be allowed to recontest till the time they are out of custody. 

“It is the need of the hour to bring a law addressing this issue… There is a provision somewhere which allows them to file their nominations by authorising someone, this is how they have contested elections,” he said.

If Amritpal Singh and Engineer Rashid were to be convicted and jailed for a minimum of two years, they would immediately lose their seats, as per the Supreme Court judgment of 2013.