Kerala High Court rejects govt’s plea to withdraw assembly violence case


By LE Desk

Kochi, March 12: In a setback to the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the midst of assembly elections, the Kerala High Court on Friday rejected the government’s plea to withdraw the cases relating to the violence in the state assembly in 2015 in which two ministers and four former legislators of the ruling front are accused.

Rejecting the plea, the single judge bench of Justice V J Arun said the case involving lawmakers, that too in the house, can’t be justified and directed all accused to face the law, the Hindustan Times reported. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala has also filed a plea asking the court not to withdraw the case saying it will set a bad precedent. A government spokesperson said it will be challenged in the Supreme Court.

The House had witnessed ruckus in March 2015 after opposition LDF legislators prevented then Finance Minister K M Mani from presenting the state budget. Angry members snapped mikes, destroyed furniture and damaged lights in the melee and two legislators were later hospitalized.

The session was live when violent incidents unfolded and later Speaker N Sakthan had filed a police complaint against six LDF legislators, two of them E P Jayarajan and K T Jaleel are ministers in the Pinarayi Vijayan cabinet now. The complaint said properties worth ₹2.5 lakh were damaged in the melee and they tried to manhandle treasury bench members. Interestingly, after K M Mani’s death his son took the party, Kerala Congress (Mani), to the LDF camp.

Earlier the government had invoked the privilege of the house to justify its decision to withdraw the case but the CJM court in Thiruvananthapuram had rejected it saying privilege was not a licence to carry out violent activities. During a discussion in the assembly last year Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said assembly proceedings should not be dragged to courts and later the government moved the HC but it refused to entertain its plea. Among six facing charges, two are seeking re-election this time, K T Jaleel and V Sivankutty.

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