The Lok Sabha Secretariat today, March 29 issued a notification stating that the disqualification of Lakshadweep MP PP Mohammed Faizal has ceased to operate in view of the Kerala High Court suspending his conviction on January 25. Faizal belongs to the opposition, National Congress Party (NCP)
Significantly, the Lok Sabha notification came just a day ahead of the Supreme Court hearing in the petition filed by the NCP MP challenging the refusal to revoke his disqualification despite the stay on his conviction. The matter is listed before a bench comprising Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna on March 29.
“In view of order dated 25.01.2023 of the High Court of Kerala, the disqualification of Shri Mohammed Faizal P. P., notified vide Gazette Notification no. 21/4(1)/2023/TO(B) dated the 13 January, 2023 in terms of the provisions of Article 102(1)c) of the Constitution of India read with Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, has ceased to operate subject to further judicial pronouncements”, the notification stated.
The notice may be read here:
It was on January 11, 2023 that a Sessions Court in Lakshadweep convicted the NCP MP and three others to ten years imprisonment in an attempt to murder case relating to an incident of 2009. Soon after the conviction, Faizal, a two-time MP from the island, was disqualified and the Election Commission of India announced bye-polls.
However, on January 25, a single bench of the Kerala High Court actually suspended Faizal’s conviction. In a speaking order, while suspending the NCP leader’s conviction, Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas of the High Court expressed concerns about the wasteful expenditure of a bye-poll, especially when the term of the Lok Sabha is set to expire within one and a half years. Justice Thomas also noted that no dangerous weapons were found to have been used by the accused in the case and that the wound certificates did not indicate any serious injuries.
Even after the suspension of conviction, the Election Commission chose not to act in furtherance of the press note for bye-elections. Though the Lakshadweep administration approached the Supreme Court, a bench comprising Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna refused to stay the High Court’s order on February 20. In the latest petition, Faizal has strongly contended the refusal of the lower house of Parliament, the Lok Sabha to reinstate him him is contrary to the Supreme Court’s decision in Lok Prahari case which holds that once the conviction is stayed, the disqualification will also get suspended.
“The petitioner is constrained to invoke the extraordinary jurisdiction of this court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, against the unlawful inaction on the part of the respondent, Secretary General of the Lok Sabha Secretariat in not withdrawing the notification dated January 13, 2023, whereby the petitioner was disqualified from his membership of Parliament from the Lakshadweep parliamentary constituency,” the plea said. [Case Title: UT Administration of Lakshadweep v. Mohammed Faizal And Ors. SLP(Crl) No. 1644/2023 and Mohammed Faizal PP v. Secy General WP(C) No. 405/2023]