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On Wednesday, the Kerala High Court ruled that merely because a CPI(M) party member was found in the presence of member of the BJP, it could not be said that the person had joined BJP.
The writ petition was filed challenging an order of the Kerala State Election Commission that dismissed a plea seeking a declaration that the second respondent was disqualified from continuing as a member of the Ambalappara Grama Panchayat on account of his presence with BJP members.
Dismissing the challenge, a Single Bench of Justice A Muhamed Mustaque found that the person’s mere presence with BJP members did not warrant his disqualification under the Defection Act. Further, the Court noted that the CPI(M) had chosen not to expel the person for his supposed anti-party activities.
It was contended that the petitioner had announced his intention of joining the BJP at a press conference. The respondent on the other hand averred that he did not make any such statement.
The Election Commission had found the petitioner’s contention unsupported by evidence. This view was supported by the Single Bench of the High Court which ruled:
Responding to an additional argument that the respondent had not been attending party meetings, the Judge opined that this charge at best would attract disciplinary charges against him, but not his disqualification.
In view of these observations, the writ petition was dismissed.
Read the Order here: