KOCHI: The Kerala government has filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) before the Supreme Court seeking to withdraw the criminal case against Education Minister V Sivankutty, former higher education minister KT Jaleel, and four LDF leaders.
The case pertains to the ruckus that took place in Kerala Assembly during the budget session in 2015 when opposition LDF MLAs broke chairs, snapped mikes, and climbed atop tables protesting against then finance minister KM Mani. Former MLAs EP Jayarajan, K Ajith, C K Sadasivan, and K Kunjammed are the other accused persons in the case.
The government approached the Supreme Court challenging the order of a Single Judge of the Kerala High Court dismissing the petition to end the case. As per the prosecution case, the accused persons, who were opposition MLAs at that time, disrupted the budget presentation and climbed on to the Speaker's dais, damaged articles like the Speaker's chair, computer, mike, and emergency lamp to stop late KM Mani from presenting the budget. The ruckus caused a loss of Rs 2,20,093 to the state exchequer.
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In the SLP, the state government argued that the accused persons are entitled to the protection of legislative privileges of their acts committed on the floor of the house. The state also contended that the Single Judge had failed to appreciate that the incident happened on the floor of the Legislative Assembly during the budget session as a part of the protest by opposition members of the legislative assembly against the budget presentation.
In such circumstances, it was not proper to dismiss an application filed by the prosecutor on the ground that the application submitted by the public prosecutor was not in good faith and not supported by any cogent reason. Besides no crime could have been registered without the previous sanction of the Speaker.
The accused persons being in relation to their function to protest as members of the legislative assembly, the MLA's who are accused in this FIR, are entitled to get protection under the Constitution. As the protest of the MLAs was in relation to their function as members of the Legislative Assembly, no criminal proceedings can be initiated, the state argued.