NEW DELHI/T’PURAM: The Supreme Court on Monday questioned the motive of the state in seeking the withdrawal of criminal cases registered against six leaders of the ruling LDF, including two sitting and four former MLAs, in connection with the assembly ruckus in 2015, stating such action and damage to public property should be met with legal action.
“Prima facie we have to take a strict view of this kind of behaviour. This is not acceptable. Look at the behaviour of an MLA who throws mic on the floor of the house. He must face trial,” said a bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah.
“They are MLAs and they represent the people,” the bench said while considering the petition moved by the state and the accused leaders challenging a Kerala High Court order refusing to discharge them.
The case relates to the destruction of furniture and electronic equipment in the Speaker’s chamber of the assembly by E P Jayarajan, V Sivankutty, K T Jaleel, K Ajith, C K Sadasivan and K Kunjammed during the budget presentation by the late K M Mani who had been facing corruption allegation in connection with bar bribery scandal.While considering the plea, Justice Shah asked what was the motive for the protest. Senior counsel and former solicitor general Ranjit Kumar replied the opposition MLAs were staging a protest against the “corrupt finance minister”.
‘It’s vital to maintain sense of decorum’
The SC bench maintained that such behaviour cannot be condoned and the accused should face trial under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act. “Irrespective of the reputation of the finance minister, the passage of the bill is of utmost importance,” observed Justice Chandrachud, adding that “these (assembly proceedings) are sentinels of democracy and that it is essential to maintain a sense of decorum.”
“Now these incidents are happening (frequently). It is happening in the parliament too,” Justice Shah added. The court adjourned the matter for July 15.The case registered under the Prevention of Damage to Public Properties Act said the state suffered a loss of `2.20 lakh due to MLAs actions. Among the accused, V Sivankutty is the general education minister in the current cabinet and KT Jaleel is a sitting MLA.
The state approached the SC with a special leave petition as the High Court refused to allow its appeal challenging the Thiruvananthapuram CJM court’s decision not to allow the withdrawal of prosecution in these cases under Section 321 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. If the SC dismisses the petition, the six politicians, including Minister V Sivankutty will have to face trial in the case at CJM court.