Ahead of SC Hearing, Mohammed Faizal's Membership of Lok Sabha Restored

The NCP leader, elected from Lakshadweep, was disqualified after his conviction and sentencing in an attempt to murder case. Despite the Kerala high court suspending the conviction and sentence, the Lok Sabha secretariat did not withdraw the disqualification order.

New Delhi: The Lok Sabha secretariat on Wednesday, March 29, restored the Lok Sabha membership of Lakshadweep’s Mohammed Faizal, which it had cancelled after his conviction and sentencing in an attempt to murder case.

Notification issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat on March 29, 2023 restoring Mohammed Faizal’s membership of the Lok Sabha. Photo: By arrangement

Faizal, a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader, had recently moved the Supreme Court challenging the Secretariat’s delay in restoring his membership despite his getting a suspension on the conviction and sentencing by the Kerala high court.

On January 11, a sessions court in Kavaratti, the capital of Lakshadweep, sentenced Faizal to 10 years in jail and imposed a fine of Rs one lakh for attempting to kill Mohammed Salih, the son-in-law of late Congress leader and former Union minister P.M. Sayeed, during the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.

On January 13, the secretariat disqualified his membership of the Lok Sabha.

According to Section 8(3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, if an MP, MLA or MLC is convicted of any offence and is sentenced for at least two years, he attracts disqualification and “shall be disqualified from the date of such conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years since his release”.

However, if the legislator is able to get the conviction and sentence suspended within 30 days, their disqualification is reversed.

While the Kerala high court on January 25 suspended the conviction and 10-year sentence of Faizal, the  Lok Sabha secretariat did not restore his membership.

Recently moving the Supreme Court against the delay in restoring his membership, Faizal had said, “The petitioner is constrained to invoke the extraordinary jurisdiction of this court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, against the unlawful inaction on the part of the respondent, Secretary General of the Lok Sabha Secretariat in not withdrawing the notification dated January 13, 2023, whereby the petitioner was disqualified from his membership of parliament from the Lakshadweep parliamentary constituency.”

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court, while considering the petition, asked if the right to represent a constituency is a fundamental right. The matter was listed for hearing on Wednesday before a bench of Justices K.M. Joseph and B.V. Nagarathna. Before the hearing, however, the Lok Sabha secretariat issued a gazette notification restoring Faizal’s membership.

“In view of order dated 25.01.2023 of the High Court of Kerala, the disqualification of Shri Mohammed Faizal P. P., notified vide Gazette Notification no. 21/4(1)/2023/TO(B) dated the 13th January, 2023 in terms of the provisions of Article 102(1)(el of the Constitution of India read with Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, has ceased to operate subject to further judicial pronouncements,” the notification said.