In a relief to disqualified BJP MLA Prahlad Lodhi, the Madhya Pradesh High Court on Thursday stayed his conviction in a criminal case and granted him bail.
On October 31, a Bhopal court had sentenced the Pawai MLA and 12 others to two years in jail for attacking Raipura tehsildar (revenue official) R K Verma in August 2014 for seizing a tractor smuggling sand.
Following the order, Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker N P Prajapati disqualified Lodhi on November 2.
The high court stayed the trial court's order till January 7, 2020, said Lodhi's lawyer and former advocate general R N Singh.
"The high court clearly mentioned in the order that it finds there is urgency to stay the conviction considering the order of Assembly secretariat of November 2 by which Lodhi was unseated from the state assembly," the senior lawyer said.
He also claimed that the Speaker had passed the order to disqualify Lodhi as MLA in a hurried manner.
Lodhi had filed an appeal against the trial court's order and sought suspension of his conviction.
The high court stayed his conviction and sentence and granted the BJP leader bail on a personal bond of Rs 40,000.
Justice Vishnu Pratap Singh Chauhan said in Thursday's order that if Lodhi was found to be "indulging in any criminal activity during suspension of his conviction and sentence", the suspension will be cancelled.
Lodhi and others were convicted by the trial court under sections 353 (assault on public servant to deter him from discharge of his duty) and 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to public servant) of the Indian Penal Code.
"The way Lodhi's membership was cancelled in haste smacks of political bias. The tehsildar had stated that there were two Prahlad Lodhis present at the spot when the incident took place... the special court had given him time to appeal against the judgement. But the Speaker, in a haste, annulled his membership without taking permission from the governor," Madhya Pradesh BJP chief Rakesh Singh said.
"As the court has stayed the conviction, his (Lodhi's) membership will continue," he said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)