Assembly ruckus case: Five accused appear in court, hearing on Sept 26

The Assembly ruckus of 2015. Photo: Manorama Online.

Thiruvananthapuram: Five of the six accused in the 2015 Kerala Assembly ruckus case appeared before the Chief Judicial Magistrate's court here on Wednesday.

While General Education Minister V Sivankutty, K T Jaleel, K Ajith, K Kunjumuhammad and C K Sadasivan appeared in court, LDF convener E P Jayarajan was conspicuous by his absence.

It was slotted as the 13th case of the day and the chargesheet was read to the accused. All five denied the charges.

The case is now slotted for September 26.

The court asked Jayarajan to appear when the case comes for a hearing next time.

Evading the summons to appear before the court could invite an arrest warrant. The accused are estimated to have caused damage worth Rs 2.5 lakh in the Assembly.

“Let us listen to the chargesheet first. Then we will take a call on whether it is politically instigated or not,” Sivankutty told reporters before appearing before the judge.

Earlier this month, the High Court had refused to stay the proceedings in the case, when the accused filed a revision petition against the dismissal of their discharge petition by the lower court in Thiruvananthapuram. The trial court had said that allowing it would send a wrong message to society.

The petition was filed by the government, seeking withdrawal of the case registered under sections 447 (criminal trespass), 427 (mischief causing damage), read with section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Sec 3(1) of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property (PDPP) Act by the previous Oommen Chandy-led UDF government.

On July 28, the Supreme Court also dismissed the Kerala government's plea for withdrawal of the case against the LDF leaders, saying privileges and immunities "are not gateways" to claim exemptions from criminal law which governs the action of every citizen.

The apex court had also said that committing acts of destruction of public property cannot be equated with either freedom of speech in the legislature or with forms of protest legitimately available to the members of the Opposition.

The assembly had witnessed unprecedented scenes on March 13, 2015, as the LDF members, then in the opposition, tried to prevent Finance Minister K M Mani, who was facing charges in the bar bribery scam, from presenting the state budget.

Besides flinging the Speaker's chair from the podium, electronic equipment, like computers, keyboards, and mikes on the desk of the presiding officer, were also allegedly damaged by the then LDF members.

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