Tuesday, July 27, 2010

HC disqualifies Kerala Cong MP on caste claim

Congress MP Kodikunnil Suresh was declared not eligible to contest as an MP by the Kerala High Court.His school record showed that he belongs to an OBC community, Cheramar Christian. Suresh was unable to justify his case. Many of the documents he produced were contradictory, reports The Indian Express.

The Kerala High Court on Monday declared null and void the election of Congress MP Kodikunnil Suresh from Mavelikkara Scheduled Caste constituency on the ground that he was not eligible to contest as an SC.

Justice Sasidharan Nambair was disposing the petitions filed by Suresh’s main rival candidate, R S Anil of the CPI, and two others. In the 190-page judgment, Justice Nambair said that the five-time MP had no right to contest from the SC constituency as the documents submitted by him to prove his caste were contradictory in nature.

The court observed that “he was not a trustworthy witness,” who claimed to be a Cheramar Hindu, an SC community in Kerala, but his school records showed that he was a Cheramar Christian, an OBC community.

The petitioners had said that Suresh was born to Cheramar Christian parents and his father’s name was Joseph. After completing his 10th standard education in 1978, he got converted into Hinduism. The petitioner had produced a certificate from the Kerala Hindu Mission, Thiruvananthapuram, to attest the respondent’s shudhi ceremony held at the age of 15. The petitioner contended that just because a Cheramar Christian got converted into Hinduism did not mean that by default he had became a Cheramar Hindu.

Suresh could not produce any convincing evidence to prove that he should be treated as an SC. Besides, he was converted as a Hindu while he was minor. Although his mother was the legal guardian, it was his brother who took Suresh for conversion. There was no evidence to show that he had embraced Hinduism even after becoming an adult.

The court found that many of the documents presented by the respondent were contradictory. While his father’s name was Joseph, the Congress leader had given the same as ‘Kunjan’ in the nomination papers.

A certificate from Nedumangadu Tahasildar said Suresh was a Cheramar Hindu, while another from Kottarakkara Tahsildar said he belonged to the Hindu Pulaya community.

Suresh had been a Lok Sabha member in 1989, 91, 96 and 99. He was defeated in 1998 and 2004.

The petitioner’s advocate, S Jayasankar, said the Congress MP was exposed with the help of the Right to Information Act. After the last elections, which he won, Suresh’s rivals could not move the court for want of documentary evidences to show that an OBC Christian was ‘masquerading’ as an SC Hindu. This is also the success of the RTI, he said.

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