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NCP’s Mohammad Faizal reinstated as Lok Sabha member; attends House proceedings

NEW DELHI: NCP leader Mohammad Faizal P P was back in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday as his disqualification from the lower house was revoked after over 10 weeks and hours ahead of the hearing in the Supreme Court on his petition in the matter.

Lok Sabha Secretary General Utpal Kumar Singh issued a notification restoring the membership of Faizal, who represents Lakshadweep in the lower house, citing the suspension of his conviction and 10-year jail term by the Kerala High Court in an attempt to murder case.

The decision came against the backdrop of Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification from Lok Sabha following his conviction in a criminal defamation case with a two-year jail term by a trial court in Gujarat. Gandhi is yet to appeal to a higher court against the verdict.

The NCP welcomed the revocation of Faizal’s suspension but expressed strong displeasure over the delay by the Lok Sabha Secretariat.

Faizal was disqualified from Lok Sabha on January 13, after he and three others were sentenced to 10-year rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs one lakh each by a sessions court in Kavaratti for attempting to murder Mohammed Salih, son-in-law of the late Union Minister P M Sayeed, during the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

”It was not expected from the Lok Sabha Secretariat. The Election Commission had put the notification on the bypolls on hold after the high court suspended my conviction but the other constitutional body was sitting on the files. This was not fair on behalf of the Lok Sabha Secretariat,” Faizal told reporters here.

Faizal, who was present in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, said he had to approach the Supreme Court to get himself reinstated. He also met Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla along with NCP floor leader Supriya Sule.

”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 13th January, 2023 in terms of the provisions of Article 102(1)(e) 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 Lok Sabha Secretariat notification said.

Faizal had moved the Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking revocation of his disqualification from Lok Sabha contending that the Kerala High Court stayed his conviction in the attempt-to-murder case.

”The disqualification should have been revoked immediately after the Kerala High Court passed an order on January 25 suspending his conviction and sentencing , though late, this is a welcome move,” said NCP national spokesman Clyde Crasto.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar had met Birla on January 30 and requested him to revoke the suspension of the two-term member from Lakshadweep.

After the disqualification, the Election Commission had on January 18 announced byelections to the Lakshadweep parliamentary seat.

However, on January 30, it decided to ”withhold the bye-election” after the Kerala High Court decision.

 

Was reinstated as they were worried about outcome in SC: Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal

Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal on Wednesday said he was reinstated by the Lok Sabha Secretariat hours before his plea against his disqualification was to be considered by the Supreme Court, as they were worried about the outcome in the apex court. While welcoming his reinstatement, Faizal said ”it was obvious” why the LS Secretariart issued the notification before the case was to be heard by the top court.

”It is obvious why they did it today. They could have very well done it after the Kerala High Court verdict suspending my conviction. Why did they wait for over two months after that?” the NCP MP asked. Faizal further said that the constituency he represented and the people there were denied a voice in the Lower House for 60 days. ”I intend to write to the Speaker how I and the people I represent are going to be compensated for this,” he told PTI.

”Based on the Speaker’s response, I will decide the further course of action.” Faizal also said he was looking forward to going back to representing his constituency in the Lower House. The Kerala High Court had suspended Faizal’s conviction on January 25, saying that not doing so would result in fresh elections for his vacant seat which would impose an immense financial burden on the government and the public.

Faizal stood disqualified from the membership of Lok Sabha from January 11, the date of his conviction by a sessions court in Kavaratti, according to a notification issued on January 13 by the Lok Sabha Secretariat. On Wednesday morning, hours before his plea challenging his disqualification was slated to be heard by the apex court, the LS Secretariat restored his membership citing the Kerala HC order of January 25.

The Secretariat said that in view of the Kerala HC order, his disqualification ”has ceased to operate subject to further judicial pronouncements”. There were 37 accused in the case. Of them, two had died and the trial had abated against them. Of the remaining 35, four people — including Faizal and his brother — were convicted and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, while the rest were acquitted.

According to prosecution, Faizal and 36 other accused along with some other identifiable persons, armed with deadly weapons, committed offence of rioting and voluntarily caused hurt on Mohammed Salih, son-in-law of late Congress leader and former Union Minister P M Sayeed, after wrongfully confining him and his friend Mohammed Kassim at a place at Androth island. They were attacked when they had reached the spot for intervening in a political issue during the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.

Source: Press Trust of India

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