A local court has rejected a petition by the Kerala government seeking withdrawal of criminal cases against two ministers and other ruling party MLAs for attacking the dais of the Speaker when they were in the opposition in the previous Assembly.
The chief judicial magistrate’s court of Thiruvananthapuram ruled the accused have been charged with the destruction of public property, among others, and as such the case cannot be withdrawn. It is perhaps a fit case of poetic justice the MPs belonging to the CPI(M) and CPI have been suspended from Rajya Sabha for showing disrespect to the Chair and unruly behaviour in connection with the passage of the controversial farm bills.
The incident in the Assembly, which was telecast live on TV channels, had the then opposition members climbing on the Speaker’s dais, throwing his chair down and snatching the microphones, destroying the computer and other office paraphernalia.
The then government filed a criminal case, alleging damage to public property, estimated at Rs2.5 lakh and criminal intimidation of the ruling party members belonging to the United Democratic Front. They were protesting against the presentation of the budget by the then finance minister KM Mani, who was allegedly involved in a scam relating to the licensing of liquor bars in the state. When the CPI(M) led Pinarayi Vijayan government assumed office, it moved a petition in the court seeking withdrawal of the case. But several petitioners, including leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala and BJP leaders, filed objection pleas, which have since been upheld by the court.
The court observed destruction of public property is a punishable offence and the rules stipulate the damage be recovered from the offenders. The court rejected the govt contention withdrawal of the case was in the interest of maintaining unity in the House and criticised it, saying there is no public interest in the suggested course. The accused —industries minister EP Jayarajan and higher education minister KT Jaleel — have been asked to remain present in court on October 15.