A vital topic that has gained momentum in recent times is prisoners’ right to vote in India.
According to recent reports, four lakh prisoners are still not eligible for voting. The Delhi high court recently dismissed the application directly challenged the constitutionality of section 62(5) of the Representation of the People Act, which does not hold prisoners eligible for voting.
According to the representation of the people act, no person shall cast their vote at any election if he is behind bars, whether under a legal sentence of imprisonment or while commuting or otherwise is under the lawful custody of the police, in any case, or circumstance. In my opinion, India is the largest democracy in the world due to its non –biased nature of elections, and of course, its magnificent constitution.
Elections are celebrated as festivals in the country where every person above 18 years of age, irrespective of their religion, caste or creed, are eligible of voting the candidate of their own choice, without anyone pressurizing them to do so. The right to vote is an essential privilege of every citizen of India.
On the other hand, talking about the prisoners, they are behind bars because they have disrespected and violated the various rights of the constitution and should not be given the privilege to vote in any kind of electoral process. Voting is a privilege only for the respectable citizenry of India and not all those murderers, rapists, burglars, and all kinds of goons who believe snatching the rights and respect of any other citizen and having a criminal background is very normal and nothing to worry about.
The petition that challenged this law stated the removal of section 62(5), as it violates the basic constitutional guidelines according to them. They also demanded better living standards for prisoners, such as providing them with basic amenities and a provision by which they can cast their precious vote from jail only.
In my opinion, this application should not be given any kind of importance or any further hearing in the high court, as the prisoners are nothing but criminals, with a very gruesome and heart-wrenching background. They should not be given any priority or any kind of provisions other than basic amenities which are required for sustenance.
Those so-called ‘prisoners’ have laid down the constitution and have made society ashamed of themselves. Countless people are suffering due to a single act committed by them. Because of them, the lives of endless people have changed into a nightmare. Some of them have even lost their loved ones whom they will never be able to meet again. And suddenly, someone is here talking about the rights and comfort zones of those merciless people?
Please should stop thinking of them with sympathy and care because they are not innocent people whom the police have caught forcefully and kept in inhumane conditions! Absolutely no, they are heartless criminals who do not think about the life of the second person. They are very selfish and cruel individuals who think only about personal benefits.
Apart from providing them only with bare necessities, the government should also consider making the judiciary stronger than ever. The first step that should be implemented is to make the punishments more strict and free from exceptions. To explain the serious nature of the matter, let me give you an example.
Everyone is aware of the Nirbhaya case that took place in Delhi on 16 December, 2012. Despite the seriousness of the case, Nirbhaya got justice after a long period of 7 years! Even though Nirbhaya could not survive the gruesome attack, her parents did not give up at any cost and tried their best to bring justice to their brave daughter. Finally, the fruits of their seven-year-old patience and hard work arrived on 12 December 2017.
This is the level of rigidity of the courts, lawyers, or the whole of the judiciary. This is the main reason why the nation wants a major change. The crime rates are so high, and the stats of prisoners are increasing at an alarming rate because there is no fear of the judiciary in the heart of goons. They roam fearlessly on the lanes and venture out at night because nobody will question them about their existence. They continue their lives in association with crime, because it generates an easy and huge income for them in a very short span of time.
Also, crime gives them a position, and even the officials start supporting them. This gives them more courage to continue this track. Thus, the execution is at fault too. We need to make better laws, and most importantly, implement and follow them properly because, without genuine functioning of the judiciary, legislation and executive, we stand nowhere.
Getting back to the topic – should prisoner’s be given the right to vote? The answer would be an absolute no because instead of providing them with better living standards, we should think about how to change their toxic personality and mentality and, most importantly, how to transform them into moral human beings so that even after their punishment tenure ends, they do not get back to their old ways of living.
Instead of providing them with comfortable conditions, we should focus on their overall development as a human – which involves better understanding and knowledge of the human world. If we want their actual betterment, we should try modifying their lifestyle, such as including reading habits in them, and especially those types of books that elevate a person’s spiritual being. Here, we can provide incentives such as reducing their jail term by several days equal to the number of books they read.
Also, we can conduct a small assessment of the book after they’ve finished reading as a preventive measure so that we know that they’re skimming through the pages and reading the book with concentration and will.
Another alternative that can be used is related to books only, but we can use it in our favor. The list of books to be read will be issued by a higher authority and will only contain the names of certified books to bring changes in the character of a person. For e.g.: Bhagavad Gita, Ikigai- The Japanese secret to a long and happy life.
To sum up, everything that has been started so far, the prisoners should not be given the privilege to vote but must be changed as a person in terms of personality & character, so that even after their jail term ends, the individual can prove to be an essential part of the society.
Written by Swaroopa