The Lok Sabha Secretariat has issued a notification disqualifying Lakshadweep’s lone MP Mohammed Faizal, who was convicted earlier this week in an attempt-to-murder case by a court in the Union territory.
The notification, issued on Friday, 13 January, said Faizal, a member of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), has been disqualified from the membership of the Lok Sabha effective from 11 January — the date of his conviction by a sessions court in Kavaratti, the Lakshadweep capital.
The disqualification has been effected under Article 102 (l) (e) of the Constitution, read with Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the notification said.
“Consequent upon his conviction by the Court of Sessions, Kavaratti, Lakshadweep in Sessions case no. 01/2017, 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. 11 January, 2023 in terms of the provisions of Article 102(l)(e) of the Constitution of India read with Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951,” it said.
The disqualification was expected as, in a 2013 verdict, the Supreme Court had held MPs and MLAs, on conviction for offences with jail terms of two years or more, will be immediately disqualified from holding membership of the House, without having the benefit of three months’ time for appeal, as was the case earlier.
With his disqualification, the NCP’s strength in the Lok Sabha is down to three.
Why was Faizal convicted?
The court in Lakshadweep had on Wednesday sentenced four people, including Faizal, to 10 years in jail after they were found guilty in an attempt-to-murder case.
The others convicted are Faizal’s brother and two of his relatives, listed as accused Nos 1 to 4.
The Kavaratti Sessions Court also imposed a fine of ₹1 lakh each on the convicts for attempting to kill Mohammed Salih, son-in-law of late Congress leader, former Union Minister and long-time parliamentarian from Lakshadweep, PM Sayeed, in the run-up to the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
The case pertains to Faizal, who is an MBA from Calicut University, and his accomplices attacking and seriously injuring Muhammed Saliha, who was also a Congress worker, in the run-up to the 2009 polls.
According to the prosecution, Faizal, along with 36 other accused persons, attacked Salih after wrongfully confining him and his friend Mohammed Kassim at a house on Androth island.
The mob, which was armed with deadly weapons, including Faizal, chased Salih when he tried to flee the spot, forcefully entered a house where he had taken shelter and brutally attacked him with sticks, choppers, and iron rods, the prosecution said.
The house belonged to one Kadeejummabi, a key witness in the case.
Salih, who was severely wounded, had to be evacuated to Ernakulam in Kerala in a chopper where he spent several months recovering, the prosecution said.
Lakshadweep: End of Sayeed family domination
For long, the Lakshadweep Lok Sabha constituency was the bastion of the late Congress leader PM Sayeed.
Sayeed won the seat as an independent in 1967 in the very first election held for Lakshadweep (before that, its MP was nominated to the Lok Sabha by the President). He was only 26.
He subsequently joined the Congress won the seat till 1999, even being elected unopposed in the 1971 contest.
He suffered his only loss to P. Pookunhi Koya of the Janata Dal (United) in the 2004 Lok Sabha election by a narrow 71-vote margin. However, he was sent to the Rajya Sabha by the Congress and was Union power minister when he died of a cardiac arrest while in Seoul in 2005.
In 2009, on a sympathy wave, Sayeed’s son Muhammed Hamdulla Sayeed defeated Pookunhi Koya and was elected to the Lok Sabha at the age of 26 — the same age as his father when he was first elected.
It was in the run-up to this election that the incident that has led to the conviction of current MP Mohammed Faizal occurred.
Mohammed Faizal went on to win the 2014 and 2019 elections on an NCP ticket, both times defeating Hamdulla Sayeed by comfortable margins.