Call on Saji Cheriyan’s return to Cabinet based on party stance, says MV Govindan

M V Govindan during a press meet in Thiruvananthapuram. Photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: Senior CPM leader Saji Cheriyan is likely to return to the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala Cabinet after being forced to resign following a controversial speech. Party state secretary M V Govindan gave hints to Cheriyan's possible return as a minister at a media interaction here on Friday.

Govindan said the party would take a call on whether to re-induct Cheriyan to the Cabinet based on its stand on the latest developments in the matter.

"There is no case against Cheriyan in a court over his speech. He resigned from the Cabinet based on the stance taken by the party over his speech. The party has not decided on bringing him back to the Cabinet. It will depend on the party's latest stance," he said.

The party removed Cheriyan as a ministe not just because there was a case against him, but also because that was morally right, he added.

Cheriyan was forced to quit the Cabinet as minister for Culture and Fisheries on July 6 after a speech he made at a local party event at Mallappally in Pathanamthitta district created a political row. Cheriyan had made several remarks questioning the Indian Constitution in the speech.

Talks of Cheriyan's return as a minister started doing the rounds after the Kerala High Court on Thursday dismissed two pleas seeking a declaration that the CPM legislatoris not entitled to hold the office of MLA in view of his speech allegedly insulting the Indian Constitution.

A bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly said no provision could be found in the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 to disqualify the MLA.

The bench also said that whether Cheriyan violated the oath of office, as contended by the petitioners, can be "identified or deciphered only by a fact finding body".

The police probing the case against Cheriyan over his controversial speech have reported that the former minister did not insult the Constitution but only criticised it.

Expressing happiness over the high court order, Cheriyan said his party would take a decision on his future and another term as minister.

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