Held guilty in FERA case, can TTV Dinakaran contest the RK Nagar by-poll?

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T T V Dinakaran is the AIADMK's candidate to contest the R K Nagar by-elections. Dinakaran who is convicted AIADMK interim general secretary Sasikala Natarajan's nephew will contest the seat that was held by former chief minister J Jayalalithaa and it may be recalled that he was recently asked to pay up a penalty of Rs 25 crore in connection with a Foreign Exchange Regulation Act violation case.

TTV Dinakaran

A bare reading of the Madras high court order suggests that this order amounts to a conviction. The penalty was levied by the FERA Appellate Board in 2000. The case related to large amounts of cash in his bank account held outside India and his failure to repatriate the same to India. The original penalty was Rs 31 crore, but was reduced to 28 crore following an appeal.

If the Madras high court has confirmed the penalty that would mean he is guilty of the offence. Will the Representation of Peoples' Act apply to Dinakaran? The RP act says that a person convicted will not be entitled to contest an election for six years. The other question is does an offence under FERA apply in the RP act?

In this context let us understand the RP act in which there is a subchapter titled Disqualification on Conviction for certain offences. The chapter lists out the various offences under which a person is convicted which would bar a person from contesting an election.Sub clause e of the chapter says that a person convicted of an offence punishable under Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 26 of 1973 will be barred from contesting an election.

The other question is will the imposing of only a fine bar a person from contesting the elections. The act states that a person who has been slapped with a fine shall be barred from contesting the election from the date of the order of conviction.

It may be recalled that the Supreme Court had convicted Sasikala and others in the disproportionate assets case. She was sentenced to undergo imprisonment for 4 years. This means that from the date of her finishing her sentence she will not be able to contest an election for the next six years.

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