A bright spot for Rahul Gandhi? Following restoring a Lakshadweep MP's Lok Sabha membership, Congress is optimistic
As a sign of optimism for Rahul Gandhi's case, the Lok Sabha Secretariat on Wednesday reinstated Lakshwadeep MP Mohammad Faizal's membership after the Kerala High Court had suspended it after his conviction and sentence in a criminal case in January.
Faizal went to the Supreme Court to inquire as to why his membership had not yet been reinstated. Before petitioning the Gujarat Sessions Court for a suspension of Rahul Gandhi's conviction and sentence in the criminal defamation case, the Congress was awaiting a ruling in the Faizal case. The case of Faizal may now be used by Congress in their legal argument.
Gandhi was ordered to leave his official house in Delhi, but Congress is confident that a potential postponement of the conviction of Gandhi by a higher court will reverse that decision. The Election Commission did not declare a byelection in Wayanad on Wednesday, but it did announce other byelections.
Faizal was sentenced to ten years in prison for attempting to kill someone, whilst Gandhi received a two-year sentence for criminal defamation. Nevertheless, it took over two months for the Lok Sabha Secretariat to reinstate his membership. He then appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which prompted the Lok Sabha Secretariat to take action.
The Kerala High Court informed the Lok Sabha Secretariat that Faizal's sentence had been postponed on January 25 of this year, therefore the disqualification judgment against him no longer applied, according to an order released on Wednesday. After five days following his conviction on January 13, he was disqualified by order of the Lok Sabha Secretariat on January 18.
A day after Gandhi was found guilty in a criminal defamation case in Surat, the Lok Sabha Secretariat similarly revoked his eligibility to serve as an MP on March 24. Over a week later, the House has yet to formally object to a suspension on conviction by the Sessions Court. Top party figures have previously said that they were awaiting the outcome of the Faizal case, which will determine how Congress would approach the higher court.
The Election Commission quickly rescinded a bypoll notice it had issued for the Lakshwadeep parliamentary seat after the high court had halted Faizal's sentence. This is crucial since on Wednesday, the ECI also failed to declare a byelection for Rahul Gandhi's seat of Wayanad.