The High Court of Kerala has quashed the sentence of 10 years awarded to Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal and three others by a Kavaratti court in connection with an attempt to murder case.
The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas noted on Wednesday that it was necessary to maintain a fine balance between the societal interest and the need to have purity in politics & elections.
Faizal had challenged the order passed by the Session Court of Kavaratti, which convicted the accused for offences punishable under Sections 143, 147, 148, 448, 427, 324, 342, 307, 506 r/w 149 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The Sessions Court awarded 10 years of rigorous imprisonment on Faizal and other accused, besides imposing a fine of Rs one lakh each on the convicts for attempting to kill Mohammed Salih, son-in-law of former Union Minister P.M. Sayeed, during the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
The conviction of the Lakshadweep MP subsequently led to his disqualification by the Lok Sabha Secretariat from the Lower House of Parliament.
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The High Court observed that though decriminalisation of politics was an essential requirement of every democracy, but it could not be the reason for denying the application of principles of the rule of law.
It was the bounden duty of a constitutional court to advance the constitutional objectives, including purity in politics.
However, the societal interest in averting an expensive election, especially when the elected candidate could continue for a limited period only if the fresh election was conducted, could not be brushed aside by this court, added the Bench.