The Kerala High Court on Friday disqualified an Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) legislator after hearing a petition that claimed he had used religion to win the 2016 state polls.
The Kerala High Court banned KM Shaji, who represented Azhikode assembly constituency in Kannur district, from contesting elections for six years and directed the Election Commission and the Kerala Assembly Speaker to take the follow-up steps.
The court passed the order after hearing a petition filed by MV Nikesh Kumar, who contested against Mr Shaji in 2016 assembly polls. Mr Kumar, an independent candidate was backed by the Left parties in the elections.
He alleged that Mr Shaji had won the election by a margin of 2,287 votes using "corrupt practices" that included blatantly seeking votes in the name of religion.
Mr Kumar in his petition accused Mr Shaji of violating rules laid out in the Representation of the People Act 1951, that guide the conduct of elections in the country to win the elections.
The petitioner said Mr Shaji, a Muslim, distributed pamphlets among the voters in the constituency urging them not to vote for Mr Kumar, a non-Muslim.
Mr Shaji told NDTV that he has been a very secular person throughout his political career and took strong anti-communal positions during 2016 election campaign. Mr Shaji said no one in Azhikode constituency had seen these so-called pamphlets.
Mr. Shaji's party, IUML, is part of the Congress-led opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala.