Supreme Court stays Kerala HC order and allows Mohammed Faizal to continue as MP representing Lakshadweep

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Today, the Supreme Court of India stayed the October 03, 2023 Kerala High Court order, in connection with a case of attempt to murder. The HC refused to suspend the conviction of disqualified Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal of the NCP (Nationalist Congress Party). The matter was heard today by a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court consisting of Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Hrishikesh Roy. The SC order reads, “In the meantime, the operation of the impugned order dated 03.10.2023 of the High Court is stayed. In consequence, the interim order passed in favor of the petitioner by this Court in remand order dated 22.08.2023 (permitting Mohammed Faizal to continue as MP representing Lakshadweep), is made operational.” 

During the court proceedings, the grant of an interim order was opposed by Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj whereas Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Faizal, argued that after Faizal’s election as MP, the FIR was modified to include an iron rod as the murder weapon. He said, “The whole story changes years later after he becomes MP. I argued this matter before the High Court, but it was not considered. This is a fight between Congress and the NCP. All witnesses are Congress workers. The sessions judge found that there are no independent witnesses…They first came and attacked me and they have been convicted…” While staying the HC’s order, the SC bench recorded, “...the assailants and the injured belong to rival political parties and there was a prior incident of attack on the petitioner’s group, which lead to the conviction of the assailants on the order side.”

A Lok Sabha Secretariat bulletin stated that after the order of the HC, Mohammed Faizal had been disqualified from the Parliament. It stated that “In view of the order dated 03.10.2023 of the Hon’ble High Court of Kerala, Shri Mohammed Faizal P.P., Member of Lok Sabha representing the Lakshadweep Parliamentary Constituency of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, stands disqualified from the membership of Lok Sabha from the date of his conviction, i.e. 11th January 2023.” Faizal and the other three accused, in an attempt to murder case, were convicted and sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment by the Kavaratti Sessions Court. 

Earlier on August 22, 2023, the Supreme Court remanded the matter back to the HC for reconsidering the suspension of conviction within six weeks. It stated, “We find that the High Court ought to have considered the application seeking the suspension of conviction in its proper perspective covering all aspects bearing in mind the relevant judgments rendered by this Court and in accordance with the law.” Aggrieved by the decision of the High Court, the matter was mentioned before the Supreme Court bench; therefore, today the bench stayed the Kerala HC order and allowed Mohammed Faizal to continue as MP representing Lakshadweep.

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