Pleas question Kerala government sparing unruly MLAs
Thiruvananthapuram: The Chief Judicial Magistrate Court here on Wednesday received a couple of petitions objecting to the government withdrawing charges of vandalism against six LDF leaders, including a minister, in the Assembly. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and RTI activists M. T. Thomas and Peter Mayaliparampil filed separate petitions as the case came up for hearing, though the government prosecutor is yet to move a formal withdrawal petition.
They pleaded that they might be heard before closing the case. A lawyer representing BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan also appeared before the court with similar demands. But government counsel maintained that no withdrawal petition was filed yet. Hence the court took their petitions on record and posted the case for April 21. All the defendants - local self-government minister K. T. Jaleel, CPM leaders E. P. Jayarajan, V. Sivankutty, C. K. Sadasivan and K. Kunjahammed Master and K Ajith of CPI - may have to obtain bail on that day.
Sources said though the government issued orders to withdraw the case on February 9, the deputy director of prosecution received it only Tuesday evening. Hence the withdrawal petition could not be filed on Wednesday. “Since the case involved offences under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and the video footage of the chaos created by the accused in the Assembly were in the public domain, the prosecutor has to be cautious as there would be legal scrutiny. Hence the prosecutor did not file it hastily” said a legal source.
While senior lawyer Abdul Kareem appeared for the opposition leader, AAP leader Ajit Joy represented RTI activists M T Thomas and Peter Mayaliparampil.
The vandalism on March 13, 2015, was to prevent the then finance minister K.M. Mani from presenting the annual budget saying he faced bribery charges.
The incident had received national and international attention, especially the visuals of E. P. Jayarajan flinging the Speaker's chair and Mr Sivankutty standing on Speaker's table. The RTI activists said in their petition that withdrawal of the case would highlight the impunity available to the political wrongdoers and embolden those indulging in destruction of public property. There was no public interest in the withdrawal, and the sole consideration seemed to be political, it said.