Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday ruled out the resignation of General Education Minister V Sivankutty over a case related to the infamous ruckus incident in the Assembly in 2015, following which theoppositionboycotted the House proceedings for the day even as youth outfits intensified street protests across the state seeking his removal.
The Congress-led UDF opposition raised the six-year- old incident in the state Assembly a day after theSupreme Court had dismissed a government plea seeking withdrawal of a criminal case against LDF MLAs, including Sivankutty, in the case.
The House witnessed noisy scenes during the zero hour when the opposition moved a notice for an adjournment motion demanding a discussion over the apex court verdict and the resignation of Sivankutty, one of the accused in the case.
They said it was 'unjust' for Sivankutty to continue as a minister even after the apex court had made it clear that the Marxist leader should face judicial trial and the Chief Minister should be ready to either seek his resignation or remove him from the position on moral grounds.
However, Vijayan, categorically rejected their demand, saying that the court had not found any particular individual guilty or named anyone and so the issue of resignation is not coming up.
Justifying the government's act of approaching various courts including the apex court with a plea seeking withdrawal of the case involving the Left front MLAs, he said taking criminal case against a legislator in the name of protest inside the Assembly was something generally unheard of in the country.
He also said the public prosecutor had the right to move a plea seeking the removal of case against MLAs on behalf of 'general public interest'.
"The government has only tried to preserve the system related to the privilege of the legislature," the Chief Minister said in his reply.
Certain privileges have been granted to Parliament, the legislature and its members by the Constitution, he said.
The Legislatures, which function independently without other interventions, used to resolve certain issues and incidents within it through constitutional norms and rules, he said.
"The Legislature is a sovereign body. The issues, happening within the House, should end there itself. Dragging such issues outside will only help strengthen the tendency to undermine the sovereignty of the Legislative Assembly," Vijayan explained.
Stating that the then Assembly Speaker had already taken action against the accused MLAs and suspended them from the House in this regard, he said two punishments for a crime is against the basic tenets of our legal concept.
He also gave a detailed list of violent incidents occurred inside various state assemblies across the country between 1998 to 2021 to justify his stand.
Moving the notice, Congress legislator P T Thomas said the incident had brought disgrace to the state Assembly.
Referring to the involvement of Sivankutty in the years-old incident, he said how can a minister, who had destroyed public property, give protection to the life and property of people.
Irked over Vijayan's reply, opposition leader V D Satheesan said it was "illegal" for the Chief Minister to justify a case in the Assembly which was dismissed by the apex court.
"What message is the Education Minister, who destroyed public property, giving to the student community? Is it suitable for a state like Kerala? Is this the message you intend to convey about the state outside?" he asked during his speech.
After some minutes of protest sloganeering against the government, the opposition memberswalked out of the House and announced a boycott of the day's House proceedings.
Meanwhile, various opposition youth outfitsstaged protest demonstrations in different parts of the state seeking the resignation of the minister in view of the court verdict.
The decision of the Supreme Court on the ruckus in the Kerala Assembly in 2015 has come as a jolt to the two-month- old second Pinarayi Vijayan-led government in the State.
The court on Wednesday dismissed the appeals, including the one filed by the Kerala government against the High Court order dismissing its plea seeking withdrawal of a criminal case lodged against LDF MLAs in connection with the ruckus.
The court said allowing the prosecution to be withdrawn would amount to interference in normal course of justice for illegitimate reasons....