THE KERALA High Court on Tuesday unseated Lok Sabha member P.C. Thomas (Kerala Congress Joseph), a former Union minister, and declared his opponent P.M. Ismail (CPM) elected from the Muvatupuzha constituency.
Hearing a petition challenging Thomas's election, a single bench of the court accepted Ismail's contention that Thomas had made a communal appeal to win over his electorate.
It agreed that Thomas had "misused religious symbols and sought votes on communal grounds." The verdict has, however, been stayed for a month to enable Thomas to approach a higher court. The court also held him guilty of corrupt electoral practices, which violated sections 123 (3) and 123 (5) of the Representation of People's Act.
The defeated candidate had pleaded that the supporters of Thomas used private vehicles to take voters of the Poonjar and Thekkara wards to the polling booths, ignoring election norms.
"It is hard to believe that these things were done without the information of the candidate," said the judge.