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Innocent Admission

Citing ‘privileges’, Kerala govt moves SC to drop suits against Left leaders

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New Delhi, June 26, 2021 (Agency) The Pinarayi Vijayan government has moved the Supreme Court seeking its nod to withdraw cases against CPI(M) leaders, including Kerala Education Minister V. Sivankutty, for vandalism inside Assembly in 2015, when the current regime was not in power.

The Kerala High Court, in an order passed on March 12, had refused to give its nod to the same saying that the elected representatives were expected to uphold prestige of the House or face consequences.

The MLAs had vandalised the Speaker’s dais, uprooted his chair, pulled out mike system, computer etc.

The special leave petition filed by the state government said: “When Article 105(3), 194(3) of the Constitution of India confers certain privileges and immunities to the members of the Parliament and State Legislature, is it proper for the Secretary of Legislative Assembly to file cases against the MLAs with regard to an incident that happened on the floor of the House during the protest made by the opposition members, that too without the consent of the Speaker of the Assembly?”

The state government contended that the high court failed to appreciate the fact that the alleged offences under Section 447 and 427 of IPC and Section 3(1) of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, happened on the floor of the Legislative Assembly during the Budget Session of the legislature as a part of the protest by opposition members against the budget presentation by the then Finance Minister due to the then prevailing political reason.

“The FIR registered by the Secretary Legislative Assembly without the consent of the Speaker is wrong and therefore the application filed under section 321 Cr.P.C. is liable to be allowed.

“The act of the accused persons being in relation to their function to protest as members of the legislative assembly the MLAs who are accused in this FIR, entitled to get protection under the Constitution,” argued the state government.

The Kerala High Court had dismissed the state’s petition against an order of rejection by the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court in Thiruvananthapuram, seeking permission to withdraw prosecution against accused, including sitting ministers.

The government argued that Article 105(3), 194(3) of the Constitution confers certain privileges and immunities to the members of the Parliament and state Legislature.

“Therefore, it is not proper for the Secretary of Legislative Assembly to file cases against the MLAs with regard to an incident happened on the floor of the House during the protest made by the opposition members, that too without the consent of the Speaker of the Assembly,” added the plea, seeking stay on the high court order.

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