“There is material prima facie evidencing the criminal acts on the part of the accused. I am of the firm view that this is not a fit case to suspend the Order of conviction imposed on the second petitioner,” Justice N. Nagresh averred. However, the Order suspending the sentence continues.
ON Tuesday, the Kerala High Court refused to stay the conviction of member of Parliament (MP) from Lakshadweep, Mohammed Faizal, in a case of attempt to murder.
Justice N. Nagresh held: “There is material prima facie evidencing the criminal acts on the part of the accused. I am of the firm view that this is not a fit case to suspend the Order of conviction imposed on the second petitioner.”The judge, however, continued the Order suspending the sentence.
Justice Nagresh noted that the prosecution witness had deposed that the first accused had hit him on the back of his head with a chopper and Faizal had hit him on the back of his head with an iron rod and while other persons in the gang hit all over his body.
“When prosecution witness 1 ran to a nearby house, accused 1 to 3 kicked and broke open the door of the house and pulled down prosecution witness 1 and started beating him.
“After the Crl. M.A. No.1/2023 in Crl.A. No.49/2023: 23 incident, prosecution witness 1 had to be airlifted to specialist hospital, Ernakulam and he was in the Intensive Care Unit and was in-patient for 14 days.
“According to the prosecution witness 1, he required domiciliary hospitalisation for more than six months. Prosecution witness 2 also deposed the role of the accused in the incident on similar lines. Prosecution witness 3 has stated that he saw the second accused hitting the head of prosecution witness 1 with an iron rod. The depositions of prosecution witness 1 to prosecution witness 3 give prima facie evidence of the overt acts committed by the second accused,”Justice Nagresh said while rejecting the request to stay Faizal’s conviction.
Justice Nagresh also noted that the criminalisation of the election process is of grave concern in our democratic polity.
“The tentacles of political crimes and criminalisation of the election process have started grappling with free and fair elections. Incidents of criminal acts being committed even during meetings of legislative bodies are surfacing.
“Proliferation of crime in the election process could garner momentum to cripple Indian democracy, if men with criminal background are allowed to continue to be part of the democratic system.
“If persons with criminal antecedents are permitted to continue as members of Parliament or legislatures even after conviction by a competent court, that would only send wrong signals to the public at large,” he said.
On January 11, Faizal was convicted with three others by a sessions court in an attempt to murder case, and was sentenced to ten years of imprisonment. On January 13 this year, the Lok Sabha secretariat issued a notification disqualifying him from membership of the Lok Sabha.
However, on January 25, the Kerala High Court granted a stay of conviction of Faizal. It observed that the consequence of not suspending the conviction was drastic not only for Faizal but even for the nation.
Meanwhile, aggrieved by the decision of the Kerala High Court, the Union territory of Lakshadweep approached the Supreme Court, which on February 20 issued notice to Faizal but refused to stay the high court Order.
On March 29, the Lok Sabha secretariatrestored the Lok Sabha membership of Faizal.
However, on August 22, a Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices B.V. Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan set aside the Kerala High Court’s Order granting a stay of conviction of Faizal. The Bench had also remanding the matter back to the high court to decide it afresh in the “proper perspective”.
The Bench had also directed the high court to decide the matter within six weeks. Till then, Faizal would continue to remain an MP, the Bench had clarified.
Commenting on the high court Order, the Supreme Court had observed that the high court had considered only one aspect of the matter, that is, that Faizal was a member of Parliament, and any conviction would cause a fresh election to be conducted for Lakshadweep, which would result in enormous expenses.
This rationale, the Bench noted, could not have been the only reason to stay the conviction.