‘Unfit to be a lawmaker’: Lakshadweep opposes plea of ex-MP in Kerala HC to suspend jail sentence

The objection filed by Lakshadweep said Faizal had "proved to be a person with a criminal bent of mind" and was "unfit to be a lawmaker".

BySreerag PS

Published Jan 17, 2023 | 6:45 PMUpdatedJan 17, 2023 | 10:07 PM

Lakshadweep MP

The Lakshadweep administration has opposed in the Kerala High Court the plea moved by disqualified MP Mohammed Faizal and three others — including his brother — seeking the suspension of their 10-year sentence in an attempted-murder case.

It said saying that releasing them on bail would “shake the people’s faith in the judicial process”.

In the objections filed by the Union Territory (UT) of Lakshadweep, through the Deputy Solicitor General of India (DSGI) Manu S, it said that the former MP was also facing trial in two other criminal cases against him and the offence committed by him had shocked the society of the island archipelago where few crimes are reported.

Therefore, his release would send a wrong message to society, the island administration has said.

Faizal’s brother Sayed Mohammed Nurul Ameen was a teacher in government service and, according to eyewitnesses, he was the one who exhorted the others to kill the injured Mohammed Salih, son-in-law of late Congress leader and former Union minister PM Sayeed, during the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the UT administration said.

“Teachers are traditionally held in high regard by society. A teacher shall be a role model for the students as well as the general public,” said the administration.

“If the petitioners/appellants, who are prominent leaders of a political party, are found to be guilty of attempted murder by the Court of Sessions are released at this stage, it will result in shaking the faith of people in the judicial process,” it said.

The administration added that the disqualified MP had “proved to be a person with a criminal bent of mind”.

“The fact that he is facing trial in a case registered by the CBI and also facing investigation in another case registered by the CBI for serious offences shows that he is unfit to be a lawmaker,” it said.

Results of suspension of sentence

The Lakshadweep administration has contended that if Faizal’s sentence was suspended, he might secure re-entry to Parliament.

“In view of the consistent insistence by the Supreme Court against the criminalisation of politics and also in view of the intention and objective of the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, the prayer is hence liable to be rejected by this court,” the UT administration said in its objections filed in response to the convict’s plea for suspension of sentence.

There were 37 accused in the case. Of them, two died and the trial abated against them.

Of the remaining 35, four persons — including the disqualified MP and his brother — were convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison, while the rest were acquitted.

According to the prosecution, Faizal and 36 others, armed with deadly weapons, committed the offence of rioting and voluntarily caused hurt to Salih after wrongfully confining him and his friend Mohammed Kassim at a place on Andrott island.

Three accused, including Faizal, chased Salih when he tried to flee from the spot, broke open the room of a house where he had taken shelter, and brutally manhandled him with dangerous weapons, including a sword-stick, chopper, iron rod, rafters, and sticks.

The severely wounded Salih was evacuated to Ernakulam in Kerala in a chopper for better medical aid, the prosecution said.

They were attacked when they reached the spot for intervening in a political issue during the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.

Also read: Travel woes of Lakshadweep natives in Kerala

The verdict in the case

On Wednesday, 11 January, a sessions court in Lakshadweep sentenced four people, including Mohammed Faizal and his brothers, to 10 years in jail.

The order stated that the accused had been found guilty of under Sections 143, 147, 148, 448, 427, 324, 342, 307, and 506 of the IPC.

“This is nothing but a sort of social sclerosis which can be guillotined only by imposing stringent punishment on them. So the accused are liable for maximum punishment. Since the accused have inflicted grievous hurt on PW1 they are liable for punishment of imprisonment for life,” the judgement read.

As per the judgement, the counsel appearing for the accused stated before the court that the accused had no criminal antecedents and the second accused was a sitting Member of Parliament, and argued for maximum leniency as the judgement would affect his political career

However, the court held that the intention of the accused was to murder Mohammed Salih due to political rivalry, but they could not succeed in their attempt. The court also stated that political clashes were on the rise, and could be bridled only by stringent punishment.

(With inputs from PTI)