How Kerala government botched up the Assembly ruckus case

Assembly ruckus case: Now action shifts to Thiruvananthapuram CJM court
V Sivankutty

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government is squirming in the ignominy of taking a wrong decision to approach the Supreme Court for withdrawing the 2015 Assembly ruckus case.

According to information emerging from the higher echelons of power, the decision to approach the Supreme Court in a case, which had the remote possibility of a positive verdict, was taken without obtaining legal opinion.

The Kerala High Court had rejected the state government's plea to close further proceedings in the case in March.

The HC order came on the petition filed by the government challenging the Thiruvananthapuram Chief Judicial Magistrate Court's verdict rejecting the plea for case closure. At that time the high court had made it very clear that it would not intervene in the proceedings of the trial court.

The state government had approached the Supreme Court with the argument that the case was registered based on a complaint filed without Speaker's consent. Hence it would not stand legally.

Had the government refrained from filing the withdrawal plea and faced legal proceedings, it could have saved itself from this huge embarrassment.

After the government realised that the Supreme Court verdict may not be favourable, it contemplated withdrawing the appeal with the permission of the court. But with the apex court giving its nod for prosecution proceedings, the government will have to appoint a prosecutor and argue against its own minister and leaders in the court. Besides, it will have to swallow the arguments raised for withdrawing the appeal.

The possibility of a fresh legal battle is not ruled out in case if the parties concerned reach an agreement at any stage.

Losses worth Rs 2.2 lakh

Property worth Rs 2.2 lakh was destroyed in the vandalism in the assembly following which a case was registered.

The loss was incurred with the destruction of the Speaker's chair, microphone, lights and computers.

In the complaint filed by the legislature secretary, the loss was estimated to be Rs 5 lakh. However, the amount was reduced to Rs 2.2 lakh after an assessment by the Public Works Department.

The then Speaker N Shaktan had taken a stand that he was not aware of the registration of the case.

On Wednesday the Supreme Court refused to accept the state government's appeal not to proceed with criminal prosecution proceedings against the accused legislators. By way of an appeal, the government had sought to revoke the Kerala High Court verdict giving nod to carry on with the case. The SC directive asking the 6 accused, including the current Education Minister and CPM state committee member V Sivankutty, to face prosecution proceedings, is set to be a headache for the LDF government in the coming days.

The accused MLAs in the previous Assembly include four belonging to the CPM, one of CPI (K Ajith) and a CPM-backed Independent (KT Jaleel).

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