A special session court has granted relief to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Manoj Kumar from an earlier sentence. The court has further directed him to pay a fine of ₹10,000 in a case for obstructing the election process at a polling station during the 2013 assembly polls. Additional Session Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar on Wednesday passed an order on an appeal filed by Kumar against an order passed by a magisterial court in which the MLA was sentenced to three months in jail and imposed with a fine of ₹10,000 while acquitting him under Section 186 of the Indian Penal Code (obstructing public servant in discharging of public function).
The court further upheld the AAP MLA's conviction for disorderly conduct in or near polling stations (punishable under Section 131 of the Representation of People Act). In its order, the court ruled that Kumar, an MLA from East Delhi's Kondli constituency, had caused an obstruction in taking out the EVMs and election materials from the polling station but there was no disturbance in the casting of votes. "Imprisonment brings with it some undesired effects on the life of a person. It is also noted that there is no previous record of conviction against the appellant and the gravity of the offence is not such as to call for the incarceration of the appellant. Therefore, having considered the facts and circumstances of the case, I am of the view that the sentence of fine as imposed by the trial court would be sufficient to meet the ends of justice," Kuhar said in the order.
The case was lodged on the basis of a complaint regarding hindrance in the election process being created by over 50 protesters, led by the then AAP candidate Kumar, at the main gate of an MCD school, during 2013 Delhi assembly elections, which caused problems to the voters. The protestors had put a blockade and closed the main gate of the school which forced the police and election staff to remain locked inside the school premises. The police also said that due to the actions of the protestors, the polling process was impacted. It also caused hindrance for the polling agents who were engaged in their duty.