Bhopal: In a major breather for the Bharatiya Janata Party in Madhya Pradesh, the High Court on Thursday stayed the conviction of disqualified Pavai MLA Prahlad Singh Lodhi.
His counsels later said that this nullifies the disqualification order issued by the assembly speaker and Lodhi would continue to remain an MLA in the light of the order.
The court has posted the matter for hearing on January 7.
After a Bhopal special court had awarded two-year jail-term to Lodhi in a case pertaining to beating up a tehsiladar in Panna, the assembly secretariat was quick to issue an order handing disqualification to Lodhi.
The leader had then approached the high court which after the hearing stayed his conviction in the case. “We have argued on two points, our client having strong case of acquittal and he might suffer irreparable loss in case the conviction remains in force and he loses his membership to assembly,” Lodhi’s counsel advocate RN Singh said.
The lawyer said that the court had accepted their arguments and stayed the conviction till January 7 when the matter would be taken up for hearing again.
This means, the lawyer said, the assembly speaker’s order on disqualification stands nullified and Lodhi would continue to be the MLA. The lawyer also said that the court had observed that assembly secretariat had acted in haste in this matter.
“The MLA could now send the copy of the court verdict to Election Commission of India and is not required to challenge assembly speaker’s order,” said the senior lawyer who cited cases including Lily Thomas, Navjot Singh Siddhu and Lok Prahari case of 2018.
Commenting on the verdict, former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that it was all a well-planned conspiracy against Lodhi as he wasn’t given time to appeal in the court on his jail term. “The Congress government had done all this to secure a majority in the assembly. Justice has been done,” Chouhan said.
With Lodhi’s disqualification from assembly, the Congress had secured majority with 115 MLAs.