Mohammed Faizal, MP, disqualification, Kerala HC, Lok Sabha, Supreme Court
Mohammed Faizal was elected for the second time to the Lok Sabha in 2019, in the middle of his trial

Lakshadweep: Who is Mohammed Faizal and why he is in news?

P P Mohammed Faizal, a two-term MP of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) from Lakshadweep, had his Lok Sabha membership restored on Wednesday. In a case mimicking Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification from Lok Sabha, Faizal too was disqualified from the lower house in January this year following his conviction in a criminal case with a 10-year jail term.

On January 13, the Lok Sabha Secretariat notified Faizal’s disqualification under Section 8(3) of The Representation of the People Act, 1951. This is the same section under which Rahul Gandhi was disqualified in a defamation case.

Also read: LS revokes disqualification of Lakshadweep MP Mohammad Faizal

Faizal’s disqualification

Faizal was disqualified from the Lok Sabha after he and three others were sentenced to 10-year rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs 1 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.

Faizal claimed that it was a false case registered against him in 2016.

He was elected for the second time to the Lok Sabha in 2019 – the first time in 2014 — in the middle of his trial. Two days after he was convicted, on January 15, the Lok Sabha Secretariat sent him a disqualification notice.

As per the Representation of the People Act, 1951, anyone convicted of an offence and sentenced to imprisonment for two years or more stands disqualified.

On January 18, the Election Commission (EC) announced by-poll to Faisal’s Lakshadweep seat. But, after the Kerala High Court suspended Faizal’s sentence, the EC had to withhold the by-election.

Going to SC

But for two months since then, Faizal’s Lok Sabha membership had not been restored. Faizal moved the Supreme Court, challenging the Lok Sabha Secretariat’s “unlawful action” in not withdrawing his disqualification as an MP more than two months after his sentence was put on hold.

The plea contended that the Secretariat’s inaction violated settled law under Section 8 of The Representation of People Act, 1951, under which the disqualification of an MP ceases to operate if their conviction is stayed by an appellate court under Section 389 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Also read: SC to hear NCP MP Faizal’s plea against continued disqualification

According to a Supreme Court ruling of 2018, in ‘Lok Prahari v Election Commission of India & Others’, a disqualification triggered by a conviction will be reversed if the conviction is stayed by a court.

The Lok Sabha Secretariat on March 29 notified restoration of Faizal’s membership.

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