Apex court restores Kerala legislator’s election

March 8th, 2009 - 6:38 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) The Supreme Court has upheld the election of Kerala’s Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) legislator M.J. Jacob. He was unseated in May last year by the Kerala High court on charges of electoral malpractices.
An apex court bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice Markandey Katju restored Jacob’s election till the end of the tenure of the state’s present assembly, and set aside the high court ruling.

The bench said in its ruling: “In a democracy many allegations and counter-allegations are made, and sometimes these are incorrect, but that does not mean that an election should be set aside straightaway on that account, as has been done in the present case, unless all the ingredients of electoral malpractice are clearly made out, otherwise almost every election will have to be set aside.”

The apex court upheld Jacob’s election in a ruling delivered Friday. It was released late Saturday evening.

On May 19 last year, an apex court bench of Justice C.K. Thakkar and Justice L.S. Panta restored Jacob’s election temporarily by suspending the high court ruling which had invalidated his May 2006 election from Piravom assembly segment.

The apex court had, however, then restrained him from drawing his salary and allowances as a legislator till a final verdict came on his lawsuit challenging the May 6, 2008, ruling of the high court.

But with the apex court now upholding Jacob’s election, he will be able to draw his full salary and be able to cast his votes as well in house proceedings.

The high court annulled Jacob’s election on a petition by a voter, A. Narayanan, who alleged that during the May 2006 assembly elections Jacob got circulated a pamphlet in the constituency, accusing his rival Congress candidate T.M. Jacob of being instrumental in a murderous assault on three fellow Congress leaders.

The pamphlet alleged that Jacob’s personal staff “who had attempted to murder Congress leaders P.J. Baby, Joseph Babu, and K.P. Jacob in Onakkoor in Kerala is still absconding, and M.J. Jacob has no answer to this.”

The high court, holding the publication and circulation of this pamphlet as a “corrupt electoral practice” committed by M.J. Jacob’s poll agent, invalidated his election.

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