SC takes a dim view on HC's stay on conviction of Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal
The Supreme Court on Wednesday took a dim view on the grounds on which the Kerala High Court stayed the conviction of Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal P.P.
New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Wednesday took a dim view on the grounds on which the Kerala High Court stayed the conviction of Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal P.P.
A bench of Justices K.M. Joseph and B V Nagarathna orally observed that courts cannot follow different rules for lawmakers and for those who are not MPs/MLAs in connection with the issue of stay of conviction, while wondering what was so exceptional about his case, which made the court to interfere in such a manner.
The high court had observed that Faizal's conviction would lead to his disqualification as an MP and it would burden the exchequer.
The apex court said a stay cannot be run-of-the-mill, and it must be in exceptional circumstances and further added that prima facie, it agrees that this observation could have been avoided. Additional Solicitor General K.M. Natarajan emphasised that the stay of a conviction was not a rule, but an exception.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Faizal, defended the high court order and argued that a court could stay the conviction when it was satisfied that failure to do so would lead to irreversible consequences and it is duty-bound to look into all aspects.
He further submitted that trial court findings point that the alleged injury was not grievous as it was not caused due to sharp weapon or an iron rod, as alleged in the FIR and there were statements of witnesses to this effect as well.
However, the bench noted that it was not right for the high court to have opined that the victim had sustained a simple injury, adding: "If the man was not taken to the hospital, he could have died. He was airlifted in a helicopter and kept in ICU for close to 2 weeks".
Citing the doctor's report, Singhvi argued that the victim was conscious when admitted in the hospital and the prima facie finding of the high court was correct. The bench observed that a conviction could be stayed if the court was of a prima facie opinion that the case is of acquittal, and emphasised that the rule for a stay has to be the same for MPs/MLAs and other citizens.
The top court scheduled the matter for further hearing on April 24 and asked Natarajan to produce statements of all relevant witnesses before it.
The apex court was hearing an appeal by Lakshadweep administration against the Kerala High Court's January 25 order, which suspended and stayed the conviction and sentence of 4 persons, including NCP member Faizal, in an attempt-to-murder case.
The accused were declared guilty for attempting to murder Padanath Salih, the son-in-law of former Union Minister and Congress leader P.M. Sayeed.
Before the top court hearing on Wednesday, Faizal's disqualification was revoked. Faizal had moved the apex court challenging his disqualification from the Lok Sabha, after the high court stayed his conviction.