A Raja Converted To Christianity Long Before Submission Of Nomination: Kerala HC Declares His Election From SC Reserved Constituency Void
The Kerala High Court has declared the election of A Raja to the Kerala Legislative Assembly from the Devikulam constituency as a Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPIM) void.
The Court found based on evidence that A Raja was actually professing Christianity at the time when he had submitted his nomination and had converted to Christianity long before its submission.
It was alleged by the petitioner that there was an attempt on part of A Raja in connivance with the Church authorities to destroy evidence in the case.
The Court observed, "All these are so conspicuous and clear from a mere perusal which would show an attempt to fabricate evidence so as to appear that the Register is not pertaining to the family of the respondent. These are the Registers kept by the CSI Church, Kundala and the nature of corrections made, which would favour the case of the respondent, would speak volume as to who is behind it".
The Court was dealing with a petition moved by Congress candidate D Kumar challenging the election of A Raja on the ground that the Legislative Constituency – Devikulam 088 in Idukki District is reserved for Scheduled Caste among Hindus and the returned candidate is not a person belonging to Scheduled Caste.
It was also alleged that the Respondent- A Raja is not a member of 'Hindu Parayan' within the State of Kerala.
The Court noted that he is not a member of “Hindu Parayan” within the State of Kerala and not qualified to be chosen to fill a seat in the Legislative Assembly of the State of Kerala reserved for Scheduled Caste.
“…it is clear that the respondent is not a member of “Hindu Parayan” within the State of Kerala and not qualified to be chosen to fill a seat in the Legislative Assembly of the State of Kerala reserved for Scheduled Caste – the Legislative Assembly Seat of 088 Devikulam Legislative Constituency and hence the election of respondent as the returned candidate for the said Constituency (088 Devikulam Legislative Constituency) in the year 2021 (06/04/2021) is declared void under Section 98 of Representation of People Act, 1951.”, Justice P. Somarajan held.
Advocate M. Narendra Kumar appeared for the petitioner whereas Senior Advocate T. Krishnanunni appeared for the Respondent.
The Court observed that “There is utter failure on the part of the respondent to show and prove that his descendants (the predecessor-in-interest) have migrated to Kerala prior to the promulgation of 1950 Order by the President of India.”
The Court noted that the respondent and his predecessors were not Hindu Parayan within the State of Kerala as on the date of promulgation of 1950 Order, though they belonged to the same Community within the State of their origin – Tamil Nadu (Madras) and they can very well claim benefit, if any, conferred upon them in their State of origin and not from the State of Kerala.
On the question regarding the alleged conversion to Christianity, the Court noted that the names of the respondent, his two brothers and their father and mother entered in the Family Register kept by the CSI Church, Kundala Congregation, revealed their identity as the person professing Christianity.
The Court further noted that on a specific question as to whether there was any observances of rituals in connection with Hindu marriage at the time of his marriage, he had pointed out the lighting of the customary lamp and tying of Thali as part of Hindu rites, but for the same, there is no evidence at all except his interested testimony.
“All these would sufficiently show that the respondent was actually professing Christianity at the time when he had submitted his nomination and converted to Christianity long before its submission. As such, after the conversion, he cannot claim as a member of Hindu religion.”, the Court held.
Thus the Court declared void the election of A Raja to the Kerala Legislative Assembly from 088 Devikulam Assembly Constituency.
Cause Title- D Kumar v. A Raja