Constitution remark: Saji Cheriyan booked, jail term up to 3 years if guilty

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Pathanamthitta: The police on Thursday booked former minister Saji Cheriyan over the controversial anti-Constitution remarks, soon after his resignation as the State Minister for Fisheries and Culture, on Wednesday. Judicial First Class Magistrate Court, Thiruvalla, had directed to initiate action against the former Minister under charges of ‘insulting national honour’.

The Court’s order is based on a petition from Baiju Noel, a lawyer of Ernakulam, seeking action against Saji Cheriyan in view of the police's failure to initiate action. He was booked under Section 2 of Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. 

The offence shall be punished with an imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

The DySP has also received 9 other complaints seeking action against him for the remarks.

Saji Cheriyan met and submitted his resignation letter to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, following the intervention of the CPM Central Committee. His remarks during the CPM area committee programme at Mallappally, Pathanamthitta, on Sunday, had drawn much flak. He had said ‘the Indian Constitution has been written in such a way that the commoners can be exploited’, triggering the controversy.

No immediate replacement for Fisheries Minister

The Government is not keen to replace the vacancy left in the State Cabinet by the resignation of Saji Cheriyan as the Fisheries and Culture, Youth affairs Minister for the State, on Wednesday.

As of now, the CM has taken the additional responsibility for the departments that were handled by Saji Cheriyan. Later, these departments may be entrusted to other ministers in the Cabinet.

It is also being hinted that Saji Cheriyan may return to the cabinet, like how E P Jayarajan and A K Saseendran came back to the cabinet in the first term of the Pinarayi Government. However, that depends on the Court’s proceedings as well. 

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