‘Oath in the name of Allah unconstitutional’

via www.newindpress.com published on May 26, 2006


KOCHI: A public interest writ petition was filed on Thursday before the Kerala High Court praying to declare that the oath taken in the name of Allah by 11 MLAs was unconstitutional and therefore they were not entitled to participate in the conduct of business of the Assembly and that they are not entitled to get salary, allowance and pension benefits.

Drawing a parallel between Umesh Challiyil’s case, and here, the petitioner, Madhu of Parumala who is also the state vice-president of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, prayed to declare that in order to take office in the Legislative Assembly, elected members must take oath in the name of God or solemn affirmation in compliance with Article 188 of the Constitution of India in the form prescribed in Schedule III of the Constitution.

Umesh Challiyil, who was a member of the 11th Legislative Assembly, had initially taken oath in the name of Sree Narayana Guru. A Division Bench held that Challiyil had not taken the oath in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, and thus he was not entitled to sit and vote in the State Assembly, and could not do so till he was duly sworn in.

The court also had held that he was liable to pay a penalty at the rate of Rs 500 for each day he sat and voted, and in future too if he sat and voted in the Legislature till he took oath in the prescribed form.

Though Challiyil filed an appeal, the Supreme Court did not stay the implementation of the High Court judgment.

According to the petitioner, P.K.Abdul Rabb (Manjeri), M.Ummer (Malappuram), K.Muhammadunni (Kondotty), Abdurahiman.R (Tanur), V.K.Ibrahim Kunju (Mattanchery), C.T.Ahammadali (Kasargod), P.M.A.Salam (Kozhikode II), Varkala Kahar (Varkala), K.T.Jaleel (Kuttippuram) and P.T.A.Rahim (Koduvalli) violated constitutional provisions and, therefore, penalty should be imposed on them at the rate of Rs 500 per sitting.

A directive to the Speaker also is sought – to permit entry of only those members who took oath in the name of God or solemn affirmation and not to permit the 11 MLAs who took oath in the name of Allah.

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