Lakshadweep Lok Sabha MP, Convicted in Attempt to Murder Case, Disqualified

The Nationalist Congress MP was convicted, along with three others, in connection with the case filed during the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

New Delhi: Lakshadweep Lok Sabha MP, Mohammed Faizal, has been disqualified as a member of Lok Sabha after a district court in the Union territory convicted him, along with three others, in connection with a 2009 attempt to murder case.

The Lok Sabha Secretariat on Friday, January 13, issued a notification to this effect.

“Consequent upon his conviction by the Kavaratti Sessions Court, Mohammed Faizal PP, Member of Lok Sabha representing the Lakshadweep Parliamentary Constituency of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep stands disqualified from the membership of Lok Sabha from the date of his conviction i.e. 11 January 2023 in terms of the provisions of Article 102(1)(e) of the Constitution of India read with Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951,” the notification issued by Lok Sabha secretary general Utpal Kumar Singh said.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP, along with other convicts, has been sent to Kannur Central Jail. They have been awarded 10 years rigorous imprisonment.

According to the prosecution, Faizal and other convicts attacked one Mohammed Salih of the Congress party due to political rivalry during the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, on April 15, 2009. A case was filed at Androth Police Station on April 16, 2009, a day after the incident. The prosecution claimed that it was a case of “politically motivated” assault.

The disqualification of Faizal is based on the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Lily Thomas vs Union of India case delivered on July 10, 2013. The court had ruled that any member of parliament, member of legislative assembly or member of a legislative council who is convicted of a crime and given a minimum of two years imprisonment loses membership of the House with immediate effect.

The speed with which Lok Sabha Secretariat issued the disqualification notification against Faizal without waiting to see if the conviction against him could be stayed raises questions. Faizal could still move a higher court to challenge his conviction.

There are no past precedents where a disqualification notice was issued against a member of parliament with such speed. It maybe recalled that in the case of Lalu Prasad Yadav when he was convicted in the fodder scam on September 30, 203, the Lok Sabha Secretariat had issued disqualification notice against him almost three weeks later, on October 21, 2013.

But, this time around, in the case of Faizal, the Secretariat issued the disqualification notice in just two days. While he was convicted on Wednesday, January 11, the notice for his disqualification came on Friday, January 13.

The question now remains is whether his disqualification will be rolled back in the case his conviction is stayed.

“An apex court order in 2020 stated that the disqualification ceases to operate if and when the conviction is stayed. A politician can continue to be a people’s representative or contest the election if that happens though it is a rarity. The question now is whether the accused’s membership in parliament will be revived with retrospective effect if the conviction is stayed in this case,” The Hindu quoted Ajit G. Anjarlekar, counsel for de facto complainant Mohammad Salih, as saying.