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'What fundamental right is violated?': SC to disqualified Lakshadweep MP challenging delay in restoring membership

IANS | March 28, 2023 05:00 PM

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday queried disqualified Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal P.P., who moved the court challenging the delay by the Lok Sabha Secretariat in restoring his membership, as to what is the fundamental right which has been violated.

As counsel, representing Faizal, mentioned the matter before a bench headed by Justice K.M. Joseph, the bench, also comprising justice B V Nagarathna, asked, "What is the fundamental right that is violated?"

Counsel replied that his client's right to represent the constituency is being taken away and stressed that the action was completely arbitrary.

The bench asked the counsel to move the high court. The counsel replied that the top court is already seized of the matter. After hearing brief submissions, the top court agreed to take up the matter on Wednesday.

On Monday, senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, appearing on Faizal's behalf, mentioned the matter before a bench presided over by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud. Singhvi submitted that letters have been written but no action has been taken so far to restore his membership. Faizal's conviction and sentence of 10 years jail was stayed by the Kerala High Court on January 25.

Faizal's plea contended that the Lok Sabha Secretariat did not withdraw the notification issued on January 13, 2023, disqualifying him as MP.

In a petition filed through advocate K.R. Sasiprabhu, the NCP leader said: "It is respectfully submitted that the respondent's inaction is in the teeth of the settled law that disqualification incurred by a Member of Parliament under Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 ceases to operate if the conviction is stayed by the appellate court under Section 389 of the Code of Criminal Procedure."

The plea added that this position has been reiterated by a three-judge bench of the apex court in Lok Prahari v. Election Commission of India in 2018.

The plea submitted that Faizal's conviction, which formed the basis of the notification, has since been stayed by the high court on January 25, 2023 and even the apex court refused to stay the high court's order.

"It is pertinent to note that the Election Commission, by taking note of the correct legal position, recalled the by-election press note dated January 18, 2023. However, the respondent is not revoking the disqualification notification dated January 13, 2023 despite various representations, and thereby the petitioner was denied participation in the budget session of the Parliament and the session which is going on now, " said the plea.

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