Friday, November 24, 2006

SC stays Kerala HC verdict setting aside P C Thomas' election

The Supreme Court today stayed the Kerala High Court verdict setting aside the election of former Union Minister P C Thomas to the Lok Sabha and allowed him to take part in the proceedings of the House.

However, a Bench comprising Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal, Justice C K Thakker and Justice R V Ravindran said Thomas, elected from Muvattupuzha constituency, will neither take part in the voting nor claim emoluments.

"The appellant (Thomas) is only permitted to take part in the proceedings and he cannot take part in voting or claim emoluments," the Bench said while admitting his appeal against the High Court order of October 31.

The Ernakulam Bench of the Kerala High Court had declared his election as void on the charge that he used his religious background and indulged in corrupt practices to woo voters during the polls on May 10, 2004.

The High Court had declared Thomas' rival P M Ismail of the CPI(M) elected from the seat.

The High Court had held that Thomas had appealed to the electorate to vote on the ground of his community and religion through printing and circulation of notices and calenders and used vehicles to transport voters to the polling booths.

Senior advocate Fali S Nariman, appearing for Thomas, told the apex court that the findings of the High Court are inappropriate regarding his photograph with the Pope on the circulars.

However, Ismail's lawyer K K Venugopal said the election was declared void after taking into accounts of the witnesses.


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