Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Somnath Bharti will remain the MLA from Delhi’s Malviya Nagar constituency for now as a local court today suspended his sentence in an assault case.
A court last week sentenced Mr Bharti to two years in jail for assaulting AIIMS security staff in 2016.
Since those convicted cannot hold the position of an elected representative, the Malviya Nagar Vidhan Sabha seat had fallen vacant with Mr Bharti’s conviction. The court’s suspension of the jail term, however, has restored him as the MLA.
The prosecution had said that Mr Bharti, along with scores of his supporters in 2016, demolished a boundary wall of the premier medical institute with a JCB machine. The court had convicted the MLA saying it was of “the considered view that the prosecution has duly proved its case beyond all reasonable doubt against Somnath Bharti.”
The court had convicted him under sections of laws that deal with voluntarily causing hurt, assault or use of criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty and rioting. It had also pronounced Mr Bharti guilty under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
A fine of ₹ 1 lakh was also imposed on the leader.
The court, however, had granted Mr Bharti bail to allow him to appeal in the high court against his conviction.
Hours after his conviction, Mr Bharti, in a statement, said he had full faith in the judiciary and that he would appeal against the order in the high court.
“Justice will prevail because of the rights given in Baba Saheb Dr Ambedkar’s Constitution of India,” he added.