SC urges Orissa High Court to dispose of Moquim plea
The state Vigilance had filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court seeking intervention against the interim stay order.
CUTTACK: The pending criminal appeal in which the Orissa High Court had issued an interim stay order on the conviction of Congress MLA from Barabati-Cuttack, Mohammed Moquim in a loan scam is back in focus with the Supreme Court requesting its disposal within six months on Friday.
Moquim was sentenced to three years imprisonment by the Special Vigilance Court, Bhubaneswar following conviction in the Orissa Rural Housing Development Corporation loan scam on September 29, 2022. After Moquim challenged the propriety of the trial court’s order on the ground it was incurably defective and suffered from gross infirmities, a single judge Bench of Justice BP Routray issued an interim stay order on it on October 19, 2022.
The state Vigilance had filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court seeking intervention against the interim stay order. But an SC division bench of Justice AS Bopanna and Justice MM Sundresh disposed of the SLP on Friday saying, “On taking note of the nature of the impugned order, at this stage, we see no reason to interfere since in any event, in a matter of the present nature, a final decision at the earliest is called for by the high court. In that view, we request the high court to consider and dispose of the appeal pending before it as expeditiously as possible but in all eventuality within a period of six months from this day”.
The Bench further said, “Needless to mention, if, for any reason, the appeal is not disposed of before the high court within the stipulated time frame and if the need arises for the petitioner to point out to the high court with regard to prejudice that is caused due to the term of the house coming to an end, in such event, the same shall also be taken note by the High Court to pass any necessary order in that regard.”
In the high court interim stay order on October 19, 2022, Justice Routray said, “Admittedly, the appellant (Moquim) is presently continuing as a member of the Odisha Legislative Assembly, duly elected from Barabati-Cuttack Legislative Assembly Constituency. He was elected for a term of five years and took oath on May 23, 2019. Still there is around one-and-a-half years to complete the term in normal circumstances. So, keeping in view his position as sitting MLA of Odisha Legislative Assembly, the loss to befall on him due to the conviction would be irreparable unless the same is stayed”.
Justice Routray further observed, “This will also lead to an untimely bye-election to burden the public exchequer. Further, considering the limited period of his sentence for three years and the offences involved, which are neither punishable with death nor imprisonment for life, it is felt apposite to grant stay of the conviction pending appeal since the impact of loss due to disqualification would not only be enormous for the appellant (Moquim) but also be for the public-exchequer.”