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Opposition boycotts Kerala Assembly proceedings after Speaker disallows debate on gold smuggling

The Speaker said it was improper to carry out a discussion in the Assembly on the basis of alleged statements given by accused in a case.

Published: 12th August 2021 11:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th August 2021 11:54 AM   |  A+A-

Kerala assembly

Kerala assembly (Photo | Vincent Pulickal,EPS)

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Opposition boycotted Assembly proceedings in Kerala for the day on Thursday after Speaker MB Rajesh turned down its notice for an adjournment motion to discuss the allegations made by gold smuggling accused against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in their statement to Customs.

The Speaker said it was improper to carry out a discussion in the Assembly on the basis of alleged statements given by accused in a case. Besides, the matter is under the consideration of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court. Similar cases are also being considered by the Sessions Court, High Court and the Supreme Court, Rajesh said. 

The gold smuggling accused had alleged in their statement that Pinarayi and former Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan were involved in smuggling foreign currency with support of the officials of the UAE consulate.

The Speaker pointed out that the discussion demanded by the Opposition comes under the purview of Rule 52 (vii) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Assembly.  As per the rule, the motion shall not deal with a matter which is under adjudication by a court of law having jurisdiction in any part of India.

Leader of the Opposition VD Satheesan reminded the Assembly that it has discussed similar notices for adjournment motion in the past. In 2007, the Assembly discussed the private medical college managements association demanding police protection for conducting their own entrance examination on the very day when the matter was being considered by the Supreme Court. 

In 2012, the Assembly discussed the Vigilance being misused against political opponents. In 2015, the Assembly also discussed the High Court’s observation that the AG’s office should be closed down when the case was still pending, Satheessan pointed out. 

The Leader of the Opposition also reminded that the High Court’s observation in 2017 on self financing college admission issue was also discussed in the House. A year later the review petition on Sabarimala women entry was discussed when the case was yet to be considered by the apex court. Recently, the Kodakara black money heist case was also discussed in the Assembly even before a charge sheet was submitted, he said. 

“Many similar cases were discussed in the Assembly even during the investigation stage and also when matter was sub-judice. Today’s notIce was to discuss a major allegation against the Chief Minister made by the accused in a case. If we do not discuss it in Assembly where else will we do it?” Satheessan asked. He added that a discussion in the House would only help Pinarayi clarify his innocence on the matter.

Law Minister P Rajeeve said the Assembly rules not only disallow discussing issues that are sub-judice but also matters being considered even by quasi judicial bodies or statutory authorities or Commissions. 

“The Supreme Court has very clearly laid down that Rules and Acts cannot be overruled by precedents,” Rajeeve said. He added that Assembly rules also disallow discussing matters that are of a defamatory nature. He added that circumstances under which the accused made such a statement were known to all
as Central agencies had exerted pressure on them to name political leaders who are holding constitutional office. 

Registering its protest over the notice being turned down, the Opposition raised slogans for a brief period and later announced its decision to boycott Assembly proceedings for the day. 



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