The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed disqualified MLA of Azhikode, KM Shaji, to attend the Kerala Assembly session which begins on November 27. The court, however, said it would not hear his petition to stay the Kerala HC order setting aside Shaji's election as MLA on an urgent basis, and also said that he would be stripped of all MLA privileges.
On November 9, the Kerala High Court had set aside the election of the IUML leader from Azhikode. The verdict was given following a petition by journalist and CPI(M) candidate MV Nikesh Kumar who had contested and lost from the Azhikode seat in May 2016. In his petition, Nikesh Kumar alleged that Shaji had made communal remarks during the run up to the polls in 2016.
Apart from setting aside the election, the court also asked the MLA to compensate Nikesh Kumar with Rs 50,000, Justice PD Rajan has also directed the Speaker of the Assembly and State Election Commission to take necessary action following the verdict. However, Nikesh Kumarâ€™s demand to be declared the winner in the Azhikode constituency has been rejected by the court which has directed for re-elections to be held.
Nikesh had alleged that Shaji had distributed pamphlets asking Muslim voters not to vote for non-Muslim candidates. The pamphlet, accessed by TNM, stated that non-muslims will not cross the path to heaven.
"All Muslims, please pray to Allah for the victory of he who prays five times a day for our safety â€“ K Mohammad Shaji or KM Shaji. Please vote for KM Shaji and lead him to victory," the pamphlet read.
Following the verdict, KM Shaji will also not be allowed to contest elections for the next six years. He has also been stripped of all benefits that come with the MLA position following the court verdict.
The disqualified MLA also announced that he would be countering this verdict at the Supreme Court.