Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday suspended the quantum of punishment awarded to Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal and three others for a murder attempt on former Union Minister PM Sayeed's son-in-law Muhammad Salih.
However, the conviction was not suspended. This implies that Faizal could lose his seat in the Lok Sabha. Justice N Nagaresh gave the order while considering an appeal filed by the defendants.
A sessions court in Kavaratti had sentenced the four accused to 10 years in jail.
On the strength of the conviction, Faizal was disqualified from the Lok Sabha by its secretariat in January. However, a single-judge bench of the Kerala High Court suspended Faizal's conviction. In the backdrop of the election commission organising a bye-poll to fill the vacancy, Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas from Kerala High Court expressed concerns about the associated expenditures and observed that the newly elected candidate would be able to function only for a period less than fifteen months. Noting that no dangerous weapons were found to have been used by Faizal and that the wound certificates did not indicate any serious injuries, Justice Thomas proceeded to suspend the conviction of the former legislator.
It is also important to note that as a result of this verdict, Faizal’s disqualification as a member of parliament was also stayed, as per the information relayed by the election commission in January. Eventually, his membership of the Lok Sabha was restored by a notification by the secretariat.
The suspension of the parliamentarian’s conviction was challenged by the union territory administration, as well as the person he allegedly assaulted.
The Supreme Court quashed the order and directed the appeal to be reconsidered while considering this petition. The Justice Nagarathna-led Supreme Court bench had expressed doubts over the high court’s reason for suspending the parliamentarian’s conviction Subsequently, the High Court considered the case again.
(With LiveLaw inputs.)