SC sets aside Kerala HC suspension of Lakshadweep MP Mohammad Faizal’s conviction in attempt to murder case

However, the MP expressed confidence of a favourable ruling because the factors the SC asked to consider were in support of him.

ByMuhammed Fazil

Published Aug 22, 2023 | 3:02 PMUpdatedAug 22, 2023 | 3:50 PM

Lakshadweep MP Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, 22 August, set aside the Kerala High Court order suspending the conviction and sentence of Lakshadweep MP Mohammad Faizal in an attempt to murder case.

The apex court sent the matter back to the high court for fresh adjudication in six weeks.

A bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan, however, protected the MP from any possibility of disqualification, saying the protection of the earlier order would remain in force for six weeks.

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‘Erroneous’ in suspending conviction

The high court will have to decide the appeal of the Lakshadweep administration afresh during that period.

The top court said the approach of the high court was “erroneous” in suspending the conviction and sentence of the Lok Sabha MP in the case.

The bench observed that the high court’s order considered the prospect of a fresh election and the enormous expenses which would ensue, which should not have been a factor to suspend the conviction.

“The Supreme Court order is not a setback as it directed the high court to consider all the aspects of the case before delivering a fresh order. There are other factors, excluding the cost to the state of a fresh electron, to be considered in the case,” Faizal told South First.

“I’m confident that the high court would rule again in my favour since there are new developments pertaining to the case that could prove my innocence,” he added.

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‘Complainant convicted’

The MP said that Mohammad Salih, who filed the attempt to murder case against him, was convicted by the Munsiff court in Androot in a related case.

“Since Salih is convicted in a related case, his counter case of which I was convicted wouldn’t stand,” said Faizal.

The case against Salih dates back to 2009, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, he along with some other Congress workers had attacked an NCP worker Abdul Sathar.

Sathar was grievously injured in the attack, which also injured Salih.

The attempt to murder case which has Faizal as one of the accused, occurred following this incident.

Salih was convicted by the Andrott court on 27 July. He was sentenced to one-year imprisonment and was fined ₹5,000.

Also read: Lok Sabha Secretariat revokes disqualification of Mohammad Faizal

The case against Faizal

On January 11, 2023, Faizal and three others were sentenced to 10 years rigorous imprisonment and fined ₹1 lakh each by a sessions court in Kavaratti in Lakshadweep for attempting to kill Salih, son-in-law of the late Union minister PM Sayeed, during the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

Faizal had moved the Kerala High Court against the order and the high court suspended his conviction and sentence on 25 January.

In its order, the high court said it was suspending the conviction and sentence of the NCP leader pending disposal of his appeal against the trial court order. It said not doing so will result in fresh elections for the seat vacated by him which will impose a financial burden on the government and the public.

The Lakshadweep administration moved the Supreme Court against the high court’s order, and on 30 January, the top court agreed to hear its petition.

On 29 March, the top court disposed of Faizal’s separate plea against his disqualification as a Member of Parliament in view of the Lok Sabha secretariat’s notification restoring his membership following the high court order.

(With PTI inputs)