SC stays Kerala High Court verdict disqualifying IUML MLA KM Shaji

The 3 judge bench of the Supreme Court ordered a conditional stay on the verdict, allowing Shaji to attend assembly sessions.
SC stays Kerala High Court verdict disqualifying IUML MLA KM Shaji
SC stays Kerala High Court verdict disqualifying IUML MLA KM Shaji
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The Supreme Court on Tuesday, ordered a conditional stay on the Kerala High Court judgement, which set aside Azhikode Muslim League MLA KM Shaji’s election. The three justices of the bench-  A K Sikri, Ashok Bhushan and M R Shah- heard Shaji’s petition and fixed the last week of January for further hearing in the case. The court however made it clear that although Shaji can attend the assembly, he will not be able to cast his vote in the assembly proceedings or draw a salary, according to Live Law report.

The Kerala High Court on November 9 had set aside Shaji’s election following a petition by journalist and CPI(M) candidate MV Nikesh Kumar who had contested and lost the Azhikode seat in May 2016. In Nikesh’s petition, he alleged that Shaji had used communal remarks in the run up to the 2016 polls. Nikesh said 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 – K Mohammad Shaji or KM Shaji. Please vote for KM Shaji and lead him to victory," the pamphlet read.

The High Court in its verdict,  stripped Shaji of all benefits which comes from his MLA status and even ordered Shaji to pay Rs 50,000 as compensation to Nikesh Kumar. The High Court even banned Shaji from contesting elections for the next 6 years. Following this, the High Court itself stayed the verdict for a 2 week period during which Shaji had appealed to the Supreme Court regarding his disqualification.

The Supreme Court on November 22 stated that the stay would not be extended.

On Monday, with the 2 week High Court stay coming to an end and the SC not extending the stay period, the  Kerala assembly published a bulletin confirming that KM Shaji was no longer part of the 14th assembly. The Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan even said that he would not allow Shaji to attend the assembly sessions, despite the SC having orally observed that Shaji can attend assembly session despite his election being set aside.

Arguing that oral observations of the Supreme Court Court cannot be considered a judgment, the Speaker said that with the High Court stay period ending and no further orders given by the SC, the assembly would have to go by the HC verdict.

With the Supreme Court’s conditional stay on Shaji’s verdict, he would be able to attend the assembly sessions starting November 27.

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