Delhi court sentences AAP MLA to 3 months in jail for obstructing polling process

A Delhi court Tuesday sentenced AAP MLA Manoj Kumar to three months in jail for obstructing the election process at a booth in east Delhi during the 2013 Assembly polls, saying offences relating to polls should be sternly dealt with.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal, however, granted Kumar bail on furnishing a bond of Rs 10,000 to enable him to challenge the order in a superior court.

Kumar, currently an MLA from east Delhi’s Kondli constituency, had denied the charges and claimed that the case was politically motivated.

“The accused, Manoj Kumar, has been convicted for the commission of offence under section 131 (disorderly conduct in or near polling stations) of the Representation of People Act. He is sentenced with a simple imprisonment of a period of three months and with a fine of Rs 10,000,” the court said.

It has also sentenced him to three months in jail for commission of offence under Section 186 (obstructing public servant in discharging public functions) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

“At request of convict Manoj Kumar that he wishes to prefer an appeal/ revision against his conviction, he is admitted to bail on furnishing personal and surety bond of Rs 10,000… for a period of 30 days till July 25. Bail bond furnished and accepted,” the court said.

According to the prosecution, over 50 protesters led by Kumar had caused hindrance in the election process at an MCD school during the 2013 Delhi Assembly election.

The protesters had also closed the main gate of the school due to which the police staff and election officers were locked inside the school, the complaint said.

It had further said that when the voting was over, Kumar asked his volunteers not to allow the ballot boxes to be taken back and after closing the main gate, he sat in front of the gate.

The court, in its sentencing order, said since people tend to emulate their leaders, it was imperative that the conduct of lawmakers should be an ideal on the scale of constitutional morals.

“The convict has interfered with the polling process, a conduct which is not only illegal but also undemocratic. The convict was himself contesting the elections and therefore, is expected to know the laws which govern the election process in this country. Offences relating to elections are a direct assault on the peaceful conduct of such elections and therefore needs to be sternly dealt with,” it said.

“Ordinary people have the tendency to emulate their leaders and therefore, it is imperative that the conduct of those who lead society and make laws for them should be an ideal on the scale of constitutional morals. Disorderly conduct and even shouting outside polling station is a punishable offence under section 131 of the Representation of People Act and therefore, despite that the election process was complete in this case, the act of the convict of creating such conduct needs to be punished with sincerity,” it added.

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