Bhopal: Ahead of the Assembly’s winter session, the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) got a shot in the arm with the Supreme Court upholding the high court verdict of staying BJP MLA Prahlad Singh Lodhi’s conviction in an old case.
Lodhi was accused of assaulting a government officer and was awarded a two-year jail term by a lower court last month and on the basis of this order, Speaker NP Prajapati had issued his expulsion order from the MP Assembly.
The BJP had strongly opposed the move alleging partisan behaviour from the speaker. Hours after the apex court verdict was announced on Friday, Lodhi said, “Justice has been delivered.”
The Pawai MLA said the lower court had granted him bail and offered him time till December 12 to appeal in a higher court, and despite a stay order from the HC, the speaker in a “malicious manner” cancelled his membership to the Assembly.
Stating that the speaker should automatically reinstate his membership to Assembly, Lodhi said he would stage a protest with senior party leaders if his membership isn’t reinstated.
“The party leadership has promised to take me along inside the Assembly on December 17,” he said, adding, “The Congress had been plotting against me ever since the day I defeated their leader Mukesh Nayak.”
Senior lawyer Purushendra Kaurav representing Lodhi said the speaker has now no option but to revoke the MLA’s suspension/disqualification from the Assembly.
“The law is very clear… once conviction is ordered disqualification is attracted with immediate effect and once the conviction is stayed, the disqualification does not operate,” added Kaurav.
The state government had filed a Special Leave Petition with the apex court after the HC had stayed the conviction of Lodhi.
Calling it a victory of truth, Leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargav said the MLA had to struggle hard to get justice and held Prajapati responsible for all the trouble. The Congress leadership is yet to issue a statement or response in this regard.