Apex court temporarily upholds Kerala legislator’s election

May 19th, 2008 - 8:55 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 19 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday temporarily restored Kerala’s Left Democratic Front legislator and former state minister M.J. Jacob’s election, struck down earlier this month by the Kerala High court on charges of electoral malpractices. An apex court vacation bench of Justice C.K. Thakkar and Justice L.S. Panta restored Jacob’s election by suspending the high court ruling which had invalidated his May 2006 election from Piravom assembly segment.

While granting temporary relief to Jacob, the apex court, however, restrained him from drawing his salary and allowances as a legislator till a final verdict on his lawsuit challenging the May 6, 2008 ruling of the high court.

The high court had annulled Jacob’s election on a petition by a voter, A. Narayanan, who had alleged that during the May 2006 assembly election Jacob had 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 T.M. 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, had invalidated his election.

Jacob has approached the apex court contending that the high court, in fact, had invalidated his election on the grounds of corrupt malpractices in February 2007 itself.

Jacob pointed out in his petition that while invalidating his election in Feb 2002, the high court had arrived at a conclusion that it was one of his election agents who had actually got the questionable pamphlet printed and circulated.

But the high court, Jacob contended, fixed the guilt on his election agent without ever making him a party to the court proceedings and ever hearing the agent.

Jacob recounted in his petition that he had come to the apex court even earlier after the high court had invalidated his election for the first time in Feb 2007.

The apex court then had asked the high court to consider the matter afresh after duly making the election agent a party to the proceedings at the high court.

But despite the apex court’s specific order, the high court held him guilty of corrupt electoral practices without properly examining his poll agent, Jacob contended.

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