The Kerala High Court on Wednesday suspended the conviction and sentence of 10 years of rigorous imprisonment awarded by the Kavarathi Sessions Court to disqualified Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal in a case of attempt to murder Mohammed Salih, son-in-law of former Union Minister P.M. Sayeed, during the 2009 Lok sabha polls.
Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas, while passing the order, observed that the decriminalisation of politics was the essential requirement of every democracy.
The court took into consideration that elected candidate could continue for a limited period alone when fresh election was held could not be brushed aside.
The court noted that it was its duty as a constitutional court to advance the constitutional objectives including the purity in politics. However, these could not be the resaons for denying the principles of law, it observed.
The High Court added that that the ramification of not suspending the conviction and sentence awarded to Mohamed Faizal was enormous and drastic. The cumbersome process and exorbitant cost of the parliamentary elections would have to be born by the nation and indirectly by the people, it said. Besides, the new election process would lead to various development activities in Lakshadweep coming to a halt for a few weeks, the court said.
The court, however, supended only the sentence of the other accused.
When the petition came up for hearing, prosecution opposed the plea of the accused to suspend the sentence and release them on bail submitting that if the sentence was suspended, it would send a wrong message to the people of Lakshadweep.
The people of Lakshadweep are very peaceful and godfearing. The disqualified MP is also facing investigation in another case registered by the CBI for serious offences, the proseuction added.
The convicted MP and others contended that the trial court judgment was against facts and evidences. The evidence was “partisan” without any corroboration, they said. The weapons allegedly used were not recovered. The doctors had said that the injuries suffered were not life-threatening and could not be caused by sharp weapons described by the witnesses, they added.
The injured and the other two witnesses did not have a consistent case and their evidence did not inspire confidence as they contradict each other on material points, they said. The case was totally opposed to what was narrated in the first information report,they added.
Counsel for the victim, Mr. Salih contended that there was legal evidence to convit the accused. It was one of a kind in the island which was by and large peaceful.
The objective of the 8(3) of the Representaiton of the Peoples Act was to keep away criminals from active politics. The contention that there was reason to spend the conviction was incorrect. The accused had taken into their own hand the law due to their political clout, he said.