Thiruvananthapuram: Speaker A N Shamseer on Monday prevented Congress MLA Mathew Kuzhalnadan from presenting a corruption charge against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the Assembly.
The Speaker's decision was seen as unprecedented as elected members are invariably allowed to raise charges against the chief minister, ministers or other members of the House in the floor of the Assembly by giving advance notice to the Speaker.
Kuzhalnadan attempted to level the charges during the discussion on the budget in the Assembly. He had eight minutes, three of which he used to criticise the CPM's double standards on the privatisation of education.
Then he picked up a set of documents from his desk and told the Speaker that he would want to level some corruption charges as already intimated. "With your leave I am presenting the charges," Kuzhalnadan said. Before he could complete, the Speaker cut him short. "The permission has been denied. It has already been told that the Chair would not allow this," Speaker said.
When Kuzhalnadan protested, the Speaker asked that his mike be switched off. "I had asked you to submit substantiating documents. But the Chair is not satisfied with what has been submitted. So I can't allow the allegations to be raised in the floor of the House," the Speaker said.
Senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala objected. He said that it was the right of every member in the House to raise corruption charges after giving it in writing.
The Speaker said that he had the discretion to disallow permission for such requests under Rule 285 of Assembly Rules and Procedures. He said the request could be declined if the charges hurt the dignity of the House or if they did not further any public interest. "I cannot allow the sanctity of the House to be desecrated by a piece of photostat paper," the Speaker said.
Later, Kuzhalnadan confirmed that the Speaker had asked for substantiating documents. "I then asked him what substantiating evidence was produced by Nilambur MLA P V Anvar before he was allowed to raise charges against the Opposition Leader," Kuzhalnadan said.
It was on January 31 that Anvar levelled a corruption charge of Rs 150 crore against Satheesan. The MLA had alleged that people with vested interest had paid Rs 150 crore to the Opposition Leader to scuttle the SilverLine project and that the money came in three ambulances.
Kuzhalnadan said the Speaker insisted on the original of the photostat copy he had submitted. Sources said the document in Kuzhalnadan's possession had file jottings that point to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's intervention in favour of his daughter Veena Vijayan.
Now that he was denied the chance to raise the charge in the Assembly, the Congress MLA said he would call a press conference, probably on February 13, to present the charge.
Kuzhalnadan was not even allowed to complete his speech, he had five minutes left. In protest, the UDF walked out of the House.