LS Secretariat revokes disqualification of Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal

PP Mohammed Faizal | File Photo: J Suresh / Manorama
Faizal had approached the Supreme Court to restrain the Election Commission of India from going ahead with its decision to hold a byelection in Lakshadweep after the seat became vacant following his disqualification in view of the conviction: File Photo: J Suresh / Manorama

New Delhi: The Lok Sabha Secretariat on Wednesday withdrew the disqualification of Lakshadweep MP PP Mohammed Faizal. 

The development comes as the Supreme Court of India was to hear the petition filed by the leader seeking the restoration of his membership.

The Kerala High Court had stayed his conviction and 10-year sentence on January 25.

Faizal was convicted and sentenced by a lower court on January 11. A Lok Sabha notification on January 13 announced his disqualification from the house with retrospective effect from the date of conviction. The Kerala HC , however, stayed Faizal’s sentencing and conviction on January 25.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala took note of the submissions of senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for the former Lakshadweep parliamentarian, that the person has not been reinstated as an MP despite his conviction and sentence being stayed by the high court.

The Lok Sabha was "prompt to disqualify Faizal as an MP immediately after he was convicted and sentenced by a local court in January this year, but his membership has not been restored yet despite the high court staying the conviction", Singhvi, appearing for the Nationalist Congress Party leader, said.

Faizal stood disqualified from the membership of Lok Sabha from January 11, the date of his conviction in an attempt to murder case by a sessions court in Kavaratti, according to a notification issued on January 13 by the Lok Sabha Secretariat.

In his petition, Faizal said the Lok Sabha Secretariat failed to withdraw the notification despite the fact that his conviction was stayed by the high court on January 25.

It claimed that the respondent's inaction is in the "teeth of the settled law" that disqualification incurred by a Member of Parliament (MP) under section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, ceases to operate if the conviction is stayed by an appellate court under section 389 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The plea said the Lok Sabha Secretariat has not revoked the disqualification notification despite various representations and Faizal was denied participation in the Budget Session of Parliament as well as the ongoing session.

The trial court had on January 11 convicted and sentenced him to 10 years imprisonment in the case. Later, the high court stayed the conviction and the sentence imposed upon Faizal, who filed an appeal against the trial court verdict.

In January, the Union Territory (UT) of Lakshadweep moved the apex court challenging the January 25 order of the high court which had suspended his conviction and sentence till the disposal of the appeal before it.

On February 20, the top court issued notice to Faizal and others on the plea filed by Lakshadweep.

(With PTI inputs.)

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