Thiruvananthapuram: Allegations and counter-allegations are the stuff of mundane politics, but if a scamster accuses Chief Minister Oommen Chandy of sex and bribes, the onus is on the CM to call her bluff. The public tends to believe the allegation, no matter what credibility the accuser carries.
Asianet’s expose of a “letter” allegedly written by the solar case accused, raises a very serious allegation of moral turpitude against Mr Chandy, several other politicians and an ADGP.
The 75-year-old Mr Chandy, a grandfather, surrounded by the household, taking time off from his more-than-24- hour schedules to flirt with an imposter at Cliff House? Ludicrous! But do all men and women in Kerala think so? For every person who thinks Mr Chandy is above reproach, several others think he is liable to prove his innocence.
The law does not prevent Mr Chandy from filing a complaint with the Museum police, stating that the news item, based on a “letter” (addressed to whom no one knows), accusing him of sexual abuse, is untrue and damages his reputation.
CrPC Section 199 invests a person with the facility to haul up those who sully reputations. The cops could take cognizance, based on the news channel’s rerun of what was already available on social media in a different format. But cops could be accused of doing the CM’s bidding and taking up the complaint to save him. So that course is indiscrete.
There are experts who believe Mr Chandy should not give into machinations of his rivals and file a civil libel petition. That precisely is what his detractors want. The case will drag on for years and all the while his reputation remains cloudy.
Justice K T Thomas says discretion is the better part of valour. Mr Chandy should not let his work be affected by a woman, who had waited for several years with her prison jottings till elections were called. (Was not this lady branded dubious by the High Court the other day?)
Politicians should stick to the lekshmana rekha as elections are fertile ground for cock ‘n’ bull stories. Justice Thomas commends CPM politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan’s refusal to exploit the allegation against Mr Chandy.
But counsel Kaleeswaram Raj believes Mr Chandy should tap Section 199 (2) of CrPC to spare himself of the effort of going to the police station and spending time on the court veranda. The Government by an executive order should entrust the case to a public prosecutor, who shall agitate the matter at a sessions court.
CrPC section 199 (2) reads: “Notwithstanding anything contained in this Code, when any offence falling under Chapter XXI ( deals with defamation) of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860 ) is alleged to have been committed against a person who at the time of such commission, is the President of India, the Vice- President of India, the Governor of a State, the Administrator of a Union territory or a Minister of the Union or of a State or of a Union territory, or any other public servant employed in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State in respect of his conduct in the discharge of his public functions a Court of Session may take cognizance of such offence, without the case being committed to it, upon a complaint in writing made by the Public Prosecutor”.
But the bottom line: Legal luminaries wonder why even the bureaucrat mentioned in the purported letter remains silent.