Lok Sabha disqualification: SC to hear former Lakshadweep MP’s plea tomorrow

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday NCP leader Mohammed Faizal’s petition against the delay in the Lok Sabha Secretariat withdrawing the notification disqualifying him as MP, despite his conviction in an attempt to murder case and 10-year sentence was stayed by the Kerala High Court recently.

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.

Singhvi said the appeal of the Union Territory against the high court order is coming up for hearing before another apex court bench on Tuesday. “Tag this with the SLP (of Lakshadweep),” said the bench.

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 filed in the apex court through advocate K R Sasiprabhu, 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.

“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.

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.

“It is pertinent to note that the Election Commission, by taking note of the correct legal position, recalled the by-election press note dated January 18, 2023,” it said.

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 Budget Session of Parliament began on January 31 and its first part ended on February 13. Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha reconvened after a recess on March 13 and the second part of the session is underway.

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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