The Election Commission told the Supreme Court on Friday it will take note of the Kerala High Court order suspending the conviction of Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal in an attempt to murder case, which had resulted in his disqualification from the Lok Sabha, and take action in accordance with law.
The top court was hearing a plea filed by Faizal challenging the Election Commission's press note announcing conduct of by-election in his erstwhile Lakshadweep constituency. The EC had announced the by-poll after Faizal was disqualified following his conviction in the case.
A bench comprising Justices K M Joseph and B V Nagarathna noted the submission of senior advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for poll panel, that the EC action will be in accordance with law in the light of the HC order.
“It is submitted also that the ECI went ahead as per the trial court order (of conviction). Without going into the allegations or pronouncing on any merits, we dispose of the writ petition recording the submission that action will be taken by the ECI in accordance with law in light of the HC order of suspension of conviction,” the bench said.
Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Faizal, submitted before the bench that the by-election cannot go on as the high court has suspended the conviction.
Singh opposed Sibal's submission and said the plea under Article 32 does not survive and it is for the poll panel to take a call. Article 32 of the Constitution gives right to an individual to move the apex court to seek justice when they feel they have been unduly deprived of their fundamental rights.
Faizal, in his petition, said by the impugned Press Note the poll panel is proposing to fill the seat without awaiting the outcome of his plea for stay of conviction and sentence in the high court. He contended the EC's announcement was arbitrary, unlawful and mala fide .
The Election Commission had said on January 18 the bypoll to the Lakshadweep Lok Sabha seat, which fell vacant following the disqualification of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader, will be held on February 27 along with the by-elections to six Assembly seats spread over five states.
The Kerala High Court had on Wednesday suspended Faizal's conviction, saying that not doing so will result in fresh elections for his vacant seat which would impose an immense financial burden on the government and the public.
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