Kerala Assembly proceedings were cut short within half-an-hour on Friday after the Opposition UDF demanded nothing less than an apology from CPM MLA M M Mani for his allegedly insensitive remarks about RMP MLA K K Rema inside the House on July 14.
Speaker M B Rajesh made it clear that he was not in a position to remove Mani's remarks as it did not contain anything "overtly unparliamentary".
He also cited two recent instances involving Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Opposition Leader V D Satheesan, one in which an opposition member did not use "overtly unparliamentary" words while raising grave allegations against the Chief Minister and another in which a ruling side member made a manifestly offensive remark against the Opposition Leader.
"The remark against the Opposition Leader was expunged from the Assembly records," the Speaker said. This was a reference to CPM-backed Independent MLA P V Anvar's allegations of fraud against Satheesan.
The Speaker had then ruled that Anvar's comments went against the dignity and heritage of the Assembly.
In the first case, the Speaker said the Chief Minister told the House in the presence of the accuser MLA that the charges were absolutely baseless and demanded that these be withdrawn. "No one apologised or withdrew the allegations," the Speaker said. The Speaker did not expunge the remarks either.
This instance related to Congress MLA Mathew Kuzhalnadan's charge that one of the directors of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Jaik Balakumar, was the Chief Minister's daughter Veena George's mentor.
In fact Kuzhalnadan went a step ahead and moved a breach of privilege motion against the Chief Minister for lying inside the Assembly. The Speaker had also officially sought the Chief Minister's response to Kuzhalnadan's motion.
The Opposition Leader, right at the start of the day on Friday, said that Assembly proceedings should begin only after Mani tendered his apology and took back his anti-women remarks.
Mani had said that Rema's widowhood was her fate and that his party was not responsible for what happened to her.
In fact, of the 12 convicted in the murder of T P Chandrasekharan, three were local CPM leaders, including the late P K Kunhananthan who was CPM Panur area committee member. The CPM, however, had consistently maintained that its workers were wrongly implicated in the murder.
Satheesan asked whether the CPM believed in fate and used the synonym of the Malayalam word 'vidhy', a court sentence, to say that Rema's 'vidhy' (sentence) was delivered by the CPM court.
"Don't make us utter name of the Judge who delivered the sentence," Satheesan said. Outside the House, Satheesan told reporters that Pinarayi Vijayan who was then the party secretary was the judge who ordered the execution of T P Chandrasekharan on May 12, 2012.